Eutelsat, a French satellite provider, has joined forces with Facebook to bring Internet access to a significant chunk of Sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with Spacecom, an Israeli communications satellite operator, the two companies will use the “entire broadband payload” of the AMOS-6 satellite that’s scheduled to launch later this year, which will begin beaming Internet service down to Africa in the second half of 2016.
Facebook has teamed with French communications specialist Eutelsat to beam Internet service to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with Israel’s Spacecom, the companies will utilize the “entire broadband payload” on the AMOS-6 satellite, which is slated for launch later this year. Internet service will then be available in the second half of 2016, to relieve “pent-up demand for connectivity” by African users, many of whom are operating on fixed and mobile terrestrial networks. “Large parts of West, East and Southern Africa” stand to benefit from the satellite-based service, which will be accessible via off-the-shelf equipment. Capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook, the companies said. “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,” Chris Daniels, vice president of Internet.org, said in a statement.