Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, had earlier said that opening up the internet to all countries and all parts of the globe is the only way to get rid of poverty from the face of the Earth. Now, there are reports coming through that Facebook has taken a step forward in this direction and will be making use of satellites to offer broadband internet facilities in Africa. Facebook has already entered into a partnership with Eutelsat Communications, a French satellite company.
This initiative by Facebook has been in the pipeline for long. Facebook’s collaboration with Eutelsat Communications will start to show fruits once the internet facility goes up in Africa in the latter half of 2016.
The satellite that will be used to offer broadband internet connectivity in Africa would be the upcoming AMOS-6 satellite. This satellite will be launched by the end of this year. This is a satellite that is built by Israel Aerospace Industries and would be made over a cost of $200 million.
Both Eutelsat and Facebook will be creating a system that is particularly aimed at offering connectivity to the larger areas of the Saharan Africa. More than 14 countries in Africa will benefit from this initiative taken up by Facebook. Eutelsat, the French company, will be setting up a company based in London to keep an eye on the rollout of the satellite to help introduce a broadband internet facility in Africa.
The Vice President of Internet.org program of Facebook, Chris Daniels, said that Facebook is on a mission to connect the world. In order to achieve this, the social media giant is making use of the satellites as it will help in breaking all barriers that are preventing the connection of the African people.
The internet.org program of Facebook has come under a lot of criticism recently, especially in India over its transparency and neutrality. The company has been accused of pushing its initiative through and is having a control over the people as to what they can access. This is why Facebook came out with the new rebranded app called “Free Basics by Facebook” in order to show the marked difference between its app and the internt.org program.
Facebook is looking to connect the Africans who cannot be reached either through mobile networks or fixed networks through this internet broadband plan. The company is also developing Aquila, an unarmed plane that is 140 feet high and is solar powered, to offer internet solutions from 60,000 to 90,000 feet.