Facebook has announced it will be partnering with Eutelsat Communications – a French satellite operator – to deliver broadband Internet to the developing world. The social network is continuing its Internet.org initiative by using a satellite to bring Internet access to over 14 nations in sub-Saharan Africa.
“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,” said Chris Daniels, VP of Facebook’s Internet.org program. “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.”
Facebook and Eutelsat will be working with Spacecom on this project, a company specializing in satellite communications. An AMOS-6 satellite is scheduled to launch this year on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX. The satellite is expected to go online in the second half of 2016.
Despite criticism regarding net neutrality and transparency, Internet.org has grown to operate in 19 countries in Africa since its launch is 2013. In addition to its latest plan to deliver Internet via satellite, the initiative is also looking into the potential use of solar-powered drones.