Will tap communications capability on the Amos-6 satellite expected to be launched in 2016
Facebook Inc. is teaming with French satellite operator Eutelsat Communications SA to deliver Internet coverage to 14 countries in Africa beginning next year.
The companies said they would tap communications capability on the Amos-6 satellite, which is expected to be launched in 2016. Amos-6 is being built by Spacecom.
Facebook and Eutelsat said they expect to begin beaming Internet coverage to parts of west, east and southern Africa in the second half of next year. South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya are among the countries that will be covered.
The partnership is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to extend Internet access to many areas of the developing world where it isn’t now available.
“To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies,” Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook will work with local partners “to help communities begin accessing Internet services provided through satellite.”
Facebook and Eutelsat said they have a “multiyear agreement” with Spacecom to use Amos-6’s broadband capacity.
Eutelsat said it is establishing a new company based in London to lead its African broadband business, focusing initially on premium consumer and professional segments, according to a statement. The company aims to target small-business owners, the spokeswoman said. The company will partner with telecom companies and service providers.