Facebook Partner Eutelsat on Internet for Africa Initiative to get more Africans Online
The firms revealed they have reached a multi-year agreement with satellite communication firm Spacecom to use the entire broadband payload of the AMOS-6 satellite due to come on stream in the second half of next year and provide coverage for large swathes of Sub-Saharan Africa, after identifying pent-up demand for connectivity.
Eutelsat said in a statement the project would offer access using affordable, off-the-shelf hardware, sharing capacity with Facebook in regions often lacking access to reliable fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.
Satellite networks are well suited to economically connecting people in low- to medium-density population areas, Eutelsat added.
The capacity will enable Eutelsat to step up its broadband activity in Sub-Saharan Africa that was initiated using Ku-band satellites to serve professional users.
Eutelsat and Facebook will each be equipped to pursue their ambition to accelerate data connectivity for the many users deprived of the economic and social benefits of the Internet.
Eutelsat is establishing a new company based in London that will steer its African broadband vision and business. The company will be led by Laurent Grimaldi, founder and former CEO of Tiscali International Network, and will focus on serving premium consumer and professional segments.
Facebook two years ago launched Internet.org, an initiative to accelerate connectivity in poorly covered regions and unveiled plans to work with partners in Africa to improve both satellite and terrestrial capacity for rural areas.
“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world, and we believe that satellites will play an important role in addressing the significant barriers that exist in connecting the people of Africa,” Chris Daniels, Internet.org vice president, said in a statement.
“We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project,” Daniels added.
Eutelsat chairman and CEO Michel de Rosen said: “We are excited by this opportunity to accelerate the deployment of our broadband strategy and to partner with Facebook on a new initiative to provide Internet access services in Africa.”
“Eutelsat’s strong track record in operating High Throughput Satellite systems will ensure that we can deliver accessible and robust Internet solutions that get more users online and part of the Information Society.”
Accessing quality internet in Africa is a great deal and comes with huge budget. This Internet for Africa initiative I believe will help in the availability of internet, as well as reduce the price of accessing the Internet in Sub-Sahara Africa, thereby providing more business opportunities for Africans.