Africa: Facebook, Eutelsat to Partner On Satellite Initiative to Get More Africans Online

Internet

Facebook has partnered with Eutelsat, to launch a new satellite that is going to provide internet coverage to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa as part of its Internet.org initiative.

Making the announcement through his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg CEO Facebook, said, "I'm excited to announce our first project to deliver internet from space. As part of our Internet.org efforts to connect the world, we're partnering with Eutelsat to launch a satellite into orbit that will connect millions of people."

The AMOS-6 satellite, owned by Spacecom, Mr. Zuckerberg said that the satellite was under construction now and will launch in 2016 into a geostationary orbit that will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. "We're going to work with local partners across these regions to help communities begin accessing internet services provided through satellite," he added. AMOS-6, to be located at 4 West orbital postion, will be the satellite backbone for Eutelsat and Facebook's major operation to provide satellite communication services in Sub Sahara Africa using AMOS-6's entire Ka-band capacity. Their new initiative leverages satellite technologies to increase the number of African citizens online.

Over the last year Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam internet access down into communities from the sky and connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient.

"This is just one of the innovations we're working on to achieve our mission with Internet.org. Connectivity changes lives and communities. We're going to keep working to connect the entire world -- even if that means looking beyond our planet," said Mr. Zuckerberg.

The capacity is optimised for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment. According to the terms of the agreement, the capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook.

Using state of the art satellite technology, 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.

Satellite networks are well suited to economically connecting people in low to medium density population areas and the high throughput satellite architecture of AMOS-6 is expected to contribute to additional gains in cost efficiency.

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.
Source: CIO East Africa 6 October 2015