The world’s most popular social network, Facebook is hell-bent on giving the African continent freebies under the Internet.org program. It started with partnering with telecoms operating on the continent, but not all telecom service providers welcomed the move. The free Internet connection by Facebook will naturally make a dent into the telecoms’ revenues from providing Internet connection services to their subscribers.
Although some telecoms agreed to partner with Facebook under Internet.org, there are a good number of telecoms that flatly refused the offer. Next, Facebook came up with an innovative plan to deploy an airborne Internet connection infrastructure in the form of a giant drone with a wingspan equal to the Boeing 737 ; Aquila Project. The drone will be solar powered and will be able to do three months non-stop-flights before landing. As the drone flys high up in the sky, it will beam down the Internet connection to the people on the ground.
Facebook has again jumped into an even more ambitious plan to provide free Internet connection in Africa. The social network wants to beam down Internet connection to the continent, way up in the sky. I don’t mean flying the drone higher up in the sky, I mean Facebook is going outside the planet and into space to set up a satellite that will beam down the Internet connection.
Facebook has partnered with French satellite operator Eutelsat Communication to launch the AMOS-6 satellite into space by 2016. The satellite using a high gain spot beams will provide Internet connection to most people living in East, West and Southern Africa.
This plan is part of a multi-year agreement between the social network, Eutelsat, and Spacecom. They plan to use the whole of the broadband payload on the AMOS-6 satellite. It will build a dedicated system including satellite capacity, gateways, and terminals.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post, “We are going to keep working to connect the entire world even if that means looking beyond our planet.”
The move will address the increasing demand for Internet connectivity across Africa, which is currently being plagued by high Internet charges by the current Internet Service Providers and telecoms. It said to give users better Internet connectivity with a range surpassing those provided through fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.
“Satellite networks are well suited to economically connect people in low to medium density population areas, and the high throughput satellite architecture of AMOS-6 is expected to contribute to additional gains in cost efficiency.”
Chris Daniels, the Vice President of Internet.org also said in a statement, “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.
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.”