Facebook, Eutelsat invest to increase Internet access in Africa

Eutelsat Communications has announced a partnership with Facebook that aims to improve satellite technologies and increase Internet access in Africa.

In an agreement with Spacecom, the companies will use the the Amos-6 satellite and develop a system with satellite capacity, gateways and terminals. The project is expected to start in 2016.

The Ka-band payload on the Amos-6 will cover a significant part of South, West and East Africa. Eutelsat has used Ku-band satellites in the region to tend to professional users in the area. The association between the two companies will help meet demand for Internet access in the region, as the satellite technology is able to cover regions with small and medium densities.

Eutelsat will open a London-based company led by Laurent Grimaldi to focus on African broadband vision and business.

The initiative is aligned with Facebook's project Internet.org, which seeks to improve the connectivity in regions that deal with physical, economic and social barriers. The satellite is one of many technology investments  made by the company to provide cost-effective broadband access.