Facebook developing satellite internet for Africa


Facebook and French satellite operator Eutelsat wants to launch an internet-satellite that could boost internet connectivity in more than 14 African countries.

Easier and more reliable access to the internet could offer substantial benefits to social, educational and healthcare ideals of the National Development Plan.

The Facebook-financed satellite, named Amos-6, would be able to offer faster and more reliable internet access to isolated areas in Africa.

‘Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam internet access down into communities from the sky,’ Mark Zuckerberg wrote. ‘To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies.’

The satellite project is part of Facebook’s Internet.org non-profit initiative that aims to bring free and reliable internet access to the two-thirds of the world that have been unable to receive it.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s current level of broadband connectivity is the lowest in the world, according to the United Nations’ 2014 State of Broadband report. It reaches less than 2% of the populations in countries such as Guinea, Somalia, Burundi, and Eritrea. The internet remains a novelty and not so much the vital communications tool needed to push African development and innovation forward.

Governments will be able to use the surge in access to bring better services to people in rural areas.

Toby Shapshak, a technology trends expert, said that satellites offered the best option for African internet access. With the Facebook investment, the idea of bringing fast, reliable and cost-effective internet to Africa is slowly becoming a reality.


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