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Spacebook - Facebook Plan to Beam Internet to Africa from the Stratosphere

We've talked extensively about Facebook's various plans to extend the reach of the internet. Internet.org remains the foremost of these, as Facebook have been gradually extending their presence in Asia to support it, but despite having been around for a few years now, it's still very much a developmental thing. Their drone project meanwhile is still on the distant horizon. They've now added a new arm to this quickening race, as they've entered into a partnership with French satellite company Eutelsat which will enable them to broadcast internet down to sub-Saharan Africa from outer space.

They plan to have this up and running from the second half of next year onwards. They will be using capacity from a satellite called the AMOS-06, which is due to launch by the end of the year, providing internet to the areas shown in the image below. Facebook had initially planned to invest around $1 billion in building their own satellite, but they canned the project, seemingly due to financial concerns (and the fact that Google have also backed away from satellite inroads).

The Telegraph

There is already broadband activity in that part of Africa which is directly tied to Eutelsat, but it's limited to professional users. This will make it available to anyone with a computer or mobile device, a huge step. The management of the broadband service will be done from London, with Facebook and Eutelsat both working not only to provide internet more widely in Africa, but to use that connectivity to reach even further, hopefully bringing access to even remote, rural parts of the continent.

Beyond simply increasing the scope for technological and professional advances, having more internet will be massively beneficial to Africa's economic climate and helping to stamp out poverty. Previous projects in the Western world have proven that connectivity can help with homelessness, healthcare and crime reduction.

Internet.org hasn't exactly been the most well received project, with complaints of its limited nature forcing Facebook to rethink their approach, but increasing access is the first step, they can worry about what that access affords once it's actually in place. The fact of the matter is, Africa needs wider internet access more than just about anywhere else on the planet right now.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Spacebook - Facebook Plan to Beam Internet to Africa from the Stratosphere Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, October 05, 2015 Rating: 5

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