Social network hopes to provide parts of the African population with basic internet service.
Facebook is partnering with satellite operator Eutelsat to provide free limited internet access to some parts of East, West and Southern Africa, according to an article on pcworld.com.
The article continues by saying Facebook has plans to buy the entire broadband capacity of the AMOS-6 satellite after it is put into service in 2106.
The companies plan to share the use of the satellite’s 24 Ka-band transponders that could be used at the same time, although current plans only call for using 18 of them. The satellite has 36 transponders available, but limiting the use will improve the performance of the signal.
Terminals in Africa will link to dedicated internet gateways in France, Italy and Israel through the AMOS-6 satellite and the terminals will receive the signal through the use of dish antennas, measuring about 30 inches.
The social network has already made free, low-bandwidth internet available to people living in some 19 countries through its Internet.org program, recently re-named Free Basics by Facebook. That program provides services such as health information and search capabilities through the use of their customers mobile phones.
Facebook has been partnering with local cellular operators to provide its Free Basics by Facebook service. The company provides much of the marketing, generally for the providers of the low-bandwidth services, while the operators usually provide free access to their customers.
Facebook has not said how they will generate the revenue needed to pay for the cost of renting the satellite.
A spokesman for Eutelsat, Vanessa O’Connor, said the deal with Space-Communication (Spacecom) for the use of the AMOS-6 satellite is a multi-year commitment, but would not initially be signed on for the typical 15-year life of the satellite.
Eutlesat has a different plan in mind for its share of the bandwidth. The company wants to offer its service commercially to small to medium sized businesses, along with internet service to the more affluent customers on the continent.