Satellite services provider SES, has inked a deal with Facebook to supports its Internet.org initiative. In a move aimed at bridging the digital gap between world regions with affordable internet connection and world regions with unaffordable or non-existent internet connection infrastructure.
SES provides satellite services to broadcasters and internet service and content providers, mobile and fixed network operators among others. Facebook is looking to leverage on SES’s customized broadband platform and services to provide free internet connection to the underserved users across the sub-Sahara Africa.
SAS infrastructure will support Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi program to provide high-speed broadband connectivity over its three satellites; ASTRA 2G, ASTRA 3B, and ASTRA 4A. It is also expected that SAS will give Facebook its customized SES Enterprise + broadband services.
Ron Levin, the Director Strategic Accounts at Gilat said, “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with SES and Facebook on this worthy initiative to bridge the digital divide. The turn-key solution provided to Facebook is said on expanding SES base with Giat’s most advanced X-Architecture for SkyEdge II-c platform to deliver a scalable and optimized satellite-enabled broadband solution in Africa.”
Using satellite, data center, and implementation Express Wi-Fi services will be secured and hosted by SES. It will also encompass using Gilat Satellite Network’s X-Architecture to enable Facebook’s local partners across the African continent to deliver internet connection to the underserved communities using the Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi access product.
According to Ferdinand Kayser, the Chief Commercial Officer at SES, the new data network SES Plus will offer Facebook the needed technology infrastructure to connected more people to the internet.
Kayser said, “An agreement such as this with Facebook, where we designed a whole new customizable, flexible, and scalable solution, is another step SES has taken to satisfy the fast expanding broadband connectivity market in Africa.”
Back in October 2015, Facebook made another equally significant partnership with Eutelsat to set up satellite equipment to beam internet to Africa from space by mid-2016.