Facebook, Eutelsat to deliver broadband to Africa


Rebecca Hawkes

| 07 October 2015

Facebook and Eutelsat are collaborating to lease the entire broadband payload on Spacecom's yet to be launched AMOS-6 satellite to help more Africans get online.

The satellite, scheduled to go into commercial service in the second half of 2016, has high gain spot beams covering large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. The capacity will provide connectivity for the many users in Africa outside the range of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks, according to the two companies.

Eutelsat is already actively providing broadband services for professional use by Ku-band satellite, and will now set up a London-based business headed by Tiscali International Network founder Laurent Grimaldi, to focus on serving premium consumer and professional segments.

Facebook launched its Internet.org initiative two years ago to address the physical, economic and social barriers that are keeping people from getting online. The social network giant now plans to work with local partners across Africa to utilise satellite and terrestrial capacity to deliver services to rural areas.

"Facebook's mission is to connect the world and we believe that satellites will play an important role in addressing the significant barriers that exist in connecting the people of Africa," said Chris Daniels, VP, Internet.org. "We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project and investigating new ways to use satellites to connect people in the most remote areas of the world more efficiently."

Michel de Rosen, chairman and CEO, Eutelsat, added: "We are excited by this opportunity to accelerate the deployment of our broadband strategy and to partner with Facebook on a new initiative to provide Internet access services in Africa. Eutelsat's strong track record in operating high throughput satellite systems will ensure that we can deliver accessible and robust Internet solutions that get more users online and part of the Information Society."