A satellite providing access to the Internet to remote areas of Africa is to be launched by Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder has announced. Eutelsat, the provider based in France has signed a partnership and the two companies are hoping that 2016 will see the first satellite launched. In a Facebook post Zuckerberg said: “We’re going to keep working to connect the entire world — even if that means looking beyond our planet.” The operation forms an element of Internet.org, a project run by Facebook which has been heavily criticised by some countries.
Zuckerberg says: “Over the last year Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam internet access down into communities from the sky. To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies.” Eutelsat stated that ground-based users will have the ability to use “off the shelf” items for accessing the service provision after launching in the latter half of 2016. They stated:. “The capacity is optimised for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment. Eutelsat and Facebook will each deploy Internet services designed to relieve pent-up demand for connectivity from the many users in Africa beyond range of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.”