Plans are underway for the launch of a satellite by Facebook, to extend internet access to remote parts of Africa.The project is a collaboration between Facebook and Eutelsat, a French-based internet service provider.
Facebook Set to Launch Satellite for Affordable Internet by 2016
In a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg said, “We’re are going to continue working for a more connected world even if that means going beyond our planet.”
Facebook’s Internet.org initiative under which the satellite program will be launched, has been strongly criticized in some countries. In India for example, local providers are angry that the project would allow Facebook and its partners to monopolize the internet market to the disadvantage of the small internet service providers.
Under the Internet.org initiative, Facebook is finding novel ways to make internet access possible in some of the most remote parts of the world. The company recently announced that it would use a customized drone to reflect connectivity from space down to earth.
Built for community connection
The launch of a satellite by 2016 is the social media giant’s attempt to provide affordable connectivity through satellite technology.
According to Zuckerberg, “Facebook has, in this past year, been finding new ways to use satellite and aircraft to beam down internet from the skies to be accessed by communities.”
He went on to write that new technologies were needed to be able to connect people living in far-off regions given the inadequacies of traditional infrastructure.
On Eutelsat’s side, the internet provider said when the satellite is launched in the second half of 2016, users would be able to access internet services through off-the-shelf products.
In a statement, the company said, “Eutelsat and Facebook will each provide internet connectivity that will meet the demand for these services in Africa beyond what is provided by mobile and fixed networks.”
Presently, there are several internet-by-satellite providers, but their services are too costly for most users in the developing world.