Facebook Inc has announced that it would launch a satellite called AMOS-6, in partnership with France’s Eutelsat Communications to bring Internet access to large parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
The satellite, which is a part of Facebook’s Internet.org is under construction, and will be launched in 2016. Its main purpose would be making Internet accessible mainly via mobile phones.
It will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa, confirmed Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg in his post.
Adding a view to the matter matter, Zuckerberg maintained, “To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies.”
The Internet.org platform offers free access to pared-down web services, focused on job listings, agricultural information, healthcare and education, as well as Facebook’s own social network and messaging services.
According to the United Nations Broadband Commission, growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world’s population is still offline, reports Reuters.
Facebook has nearly 20 million users in major African markets Nigeria and Kenya, statistics released by it showed last month, with a majority using mobile devices to access their profiles.
Like Facebook, Google is also actively working on equipping remote areas with Internet connectivity with Project Loon. Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters. The project began in June 2013 with an experimental pilot in New Zealand, where a small group of Project Loon pioneers tested Loon technology. The results of the pilot test, as well as subsequent tests in New Zealand, California’s Central Valley and in Northeast Brazil, are being used to improve the technology in preparation for the next stages of the project. In case of Facebook, Internet.org did not receive a unanimous acceptance on accounts of people touting it as a move against net neutrality. Nonetheless, both Google and Facebook are among the biggest technology companies in the world and such initiatives could bridge the gap that the Governments of under developed and developing countries aren’t able to fulfil.