Facebook is partnering with Eutelsat to leverage satellite technologies to get more Africans online. Under a multi-year agreement with Spacecom, the two companies will utilise the entire broadband payload on the future AMOS-6 satellite and will build a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals. In providing reach to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, 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.
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. The capacity is optimised for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using off-the-shelf customer equipment. According to the terms of the agreement, the capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook.
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 is establishing a new company based in London that will steer its African broadband vision and business.
Two years ago, Facebook announced Internet.org, an effort to accelerate the rate of connectivity by addressing the physical, economic and social barriers that are keeping people from getting online. For Facebook, this satellite system represents one of many technology investments to enable cost-effective broadband access to unconnected populations. Facebook plans to work with local partners across Africa to utilise satellite and terrestrial capacity to deliver services to 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," said Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org. "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."