Facebook-Avanti satellite deal to bring free Internet across Africa
Facebook is reportedly in talks with London-based satellite operator Avanti as part of its initiative to offer free, basic satellite Internet access across Africa.
The project comes as part of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s internet.org plan that aims to connect the developing world.
With Facebook’s Internet.org project Zuckerberg aims “to bring the Internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it” as he believes that global productivity would witness a 25 per cent jump and over 160 million people would be lifted out of poverty if developing economies are made to offer the same levels of internet access as enjoyed in other developed and rich countries.
The deal between the two is expected to be announced soon.
Avanti, which already has two broadband satellites positioned over Africa, is planning to launch two more in the coming three years to boost capacity and coverage. It offers internet access over a high frequency radio link to a satellite dish and base station, which then converts the signal into an ordinary WiFi network.
The social networking giant has turned for support from the British company after an appeal made to mobile operators to help spread internet access was rejected.
Zuckerberg had earlier called out for help from mobile operators to create “a basic dial tone for the internet” that would enable people to freely access information services such as Wikipedia.
He also urged them to provide free Facebook access, with no charge to Facebook either, claiming that it would aid in spreading digital literacy and drive mobile internet take-up.
According to Facebook, its commercial deal with Avanti would help in covering a massive area of Africa at a relatively low cost, noted the Telegraph.
Both Facebook and Avanti declined to comment on the report.