Facebook set to beam internet down to Africa from space

Facebook is designing and building a satellite to provide internet access to people in remote parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Facebook’s Internet.org initiative and French satellite communications company Eutelsat are collaborating to bring satellite internet to sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite project is Facebook’s first attempt to supply internet connectivity to remote places in Africa.

“Over the last year Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam internet access down into communities from the sky,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and founder, on his Facebook page.

To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies. – Mark Zuckerberg

The technology will use satellite technologies to get more Africans online. The Facebook-Eutelsat satellite, named AMOS-6, is already under construction and is specifically designed to relieve the pent-up demand for connectivity from African users beyond fixed and mobile networks.

The satellite is set to launch and go into orbit in the second half of 2016. Zuckerberg founded Internet.org in an effort to accelerate the rate of global connectivity by addressing the physical, economic and social barriers that prevent people from getting online.

“Connectivity changes lives and communities,“ said Zuckerberg. “We’re going to keep working to connect the entire world – even if that means looking beyond our planet.”

The new internet initiative by the social media company makes the current concern that Facebook might introduce a “dislike” button seem trivial.