“We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project and investigating new ways to use satellites to connect people in the most remote areas of the world more efficiently”.
Yet, Facebook’s project is somewhat macrocosmic, one of a number of projects already bent on elevating Africa’s internet presence.
Internet.org, recently rebranded as Free Basics, is Facebook’s effort to provide those in developing countries with free access to basic Web services on affordable smartphones.
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg took to his own timeline on Monday to announce that the company would be providing web access… from space.
The satellite will launch next year and service will start in the second half of 2016.
The hook up, which is part of the company’s Internet.org initiative, will bring connectivity to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The Amos-6 satellite is under construction now and will launch in 2016 into a geostationary orbit that will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa”, Zuckerberg writes on his Facebook page. Facebook and Eutelsat will lease satellite capacity from Israeli company Spacecom.
Eutelsat announced that it would be creating a new company based in London that will be charged with overseeing its African network and business, and it named former Tiscali global Network CEO Laurent Grimaldi as the head of the new division. In May, Facebook responded to the criticism by opening up the platform to third-party developers, and later made it easier for more mobile operators to provide the free service. Facebook is also using lasers to beam broadband from the skies.
In July, Facebook unveiled a new custom drone it is building to bring internet to hard-to-reach and underserved locations.
While the cost of providing Internet access has dropped dramatically in recent years, much of the world is still offline.
SAP does not work alone; Africa Code Week is supported by governments, educational organizations, NGOs, and software companies including Simplon.co, AMPION, the Galway Education Centre, the Cape Town Science Centre, the King Baudouin Foundation, and even Google, which joined as a strategic partner.