06 October 2015 News

Facebook, Eutelsat to beam Internet from space to Africa

Facebook and the French satellite network operator Eutelsat have announced plans for Internet provision from space.

The companies’ target region will be sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote Monday in a post on the social network.

“To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies,” he said.

The Israeli company Spacecom’s Amos-6 satellite will fly in geostationary orbit, Eutelsat said in a press release. Facebook and Eutelsat have agreed to pay $95 million for a five-year lease on the satellite’s Ka-band spot-beam capacity, with a possible extension for two further years, Space News reported.

The satellite is scheduled for launch at the end of the first quarter of 2016, having been pushed back from a previous date in 2015. It will form part of Facebook’s Internet.org project to extend worldwide Internet access to underserved areas. Eutelsat, meanwhile, is establishing a subsidiary in London to manage its African business.

The launch vehicle will be a SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.2, Space News reported, with the satellite deploying at 4 degrees west to replace the Amos-2, which has been in orbit since 2003.

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