Under a multi-year agreement with Spacecom, the two companies will utilise the entire broadband payload on the future Amos-6 satellite and will build a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals. In providing reach to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat and Facebook will each be equipped to pursue their ambition to accelerate data connectivity for the many users deprived of the economic and social benefits of the Internet, according to the pair.
Scheduled for start of service in the second half of 2016, the Ka-band payload on the Amos-6 geostationary satellite is configured with high gain spot beams covering large parts of West, East and Southern Africa, according to the parties involved. The capacity is optimised for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment. According to the terms of the agreement, the capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook.
Facebook plans to work with local partners across Africa to utilise satellite and terrestrial capacity to deliver services to rural areas.
“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 Internet.org, the company’s internet access initiative. “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.”
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat Chairman and CEO, said: “We are excited by this opportunity to accelerate the deployment of our broadband strategy and to partner with Facebook on a new initiative to provide Internet access services in Africa. Eutelsat’s strong track record in operating High Throughput Satellite systems will ensure that we can deliver accessible and robust Internet solutions that get more users online and part of the Information Society.”
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