In June, Facebook launched its Africa office in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. Well!! The tech giant has announced a very ambitious effort to connect the next group of users through the free remote connectivity satellite which the firm will launch.
Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday that the company will partner with Eutelsat to provide users in Sub-Saharan Africa with Facebook’s affordable wireless service through the Internet.org initiative.
The two companies will be partnering with an Israeli satellite systems manufacturer Spacecom to use the “entire broadband payload” on a forthcoming satellite called the AMOS-6. The project will launch live internet connectivity to parts of Western, Eastern, and Southern Africa by the second half of 2016.
Facebook will be spending more than $1 billion in the project.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on his Facebook wall late yesterday:
“As part of our collaboration with Eutelsat, a new satellite called AMOS-6 is going to provide Internet coverage to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. The AMOS-6 satellite is under construction now and will launch in 2016 into a geostationary orbit that will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. We’re going to work with local partners across these regions to help communities begin accessing Internet services provided through satellite.”
In September, Facebook even renamed the Internet.org app to “Free Basics by Facebook.” The app and Web which are available in close to 20 countries enable users to gain access to select basic services including Wikipedia, health and jobs information free of data charges.
Facebook recently released data indicating that it grew 20 percent to 120 million in June from 100 million in September 2014, majority being in North Africa. Facebook will be focusing on Kenya and Nigeria as key Africa growth markets. Currently it has 15 million monthly users in Nigeria and 4.5 million in Kenya.