Facebook will launch an Israeli-made satellite to bring Internet access to sub-Saharan Africa.
Facebook plans to launch a satellite next year to get people in far-flung areas online.
“To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often hard and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies”, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Zuckerberg said Facebook would work with local partners in the region to ensure communities could access internet services via satellite. Under a multi-year agreement with Spacecom, the two companies will utilize the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite and will build a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals.
This is part of the company’s Internet.org project, which is experimenting with different ways in which the internet can be provided to hard-to-reach places.
“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world”, said Chris Daniels, Vice President of the social network’s Internet.org initiative.
Scheduled for start of service in the second half of 2016, the Ka-band payload on the AMOS-6 geostationary satellite is configured with high gain spot beams covering large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. Easier and more reliable access to the internet could offer substantial benefits to the vision of the social, educational and health care ideals of the National Development Plan.
Through Internet.org, Facebook wants to connect the world by providing internet access to developing countries worldwide. But a couple of weeks back, Facebook renamed the Internet.org apps and website as “Free Basics by Facebook”, and opened up to more developers and web services. Aquila is a solar-powered aircraft that creates a 50-kilometer communications radius for up to 90 days.
It looks like the battle of the tech giants to bring Internet access – and their own associated services – to the next few billion people is starting to heat up.