New Delhi : Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced FB’s ambitious plans of launching a satellite for facilitating internet access in remote areas of some part of the globe which is densely populated and active on social networking sites.
Facebook has made plans to launch a satellite that will provide internet access to remote parts of Africa and this would be a joint venture in partnership with French-based provider Eutelsat. Targeting a launch time of year 2016, Facebook aims at continuing the task of connecting the entire world — ‘even if that means looking beyond our planet,’ said Zuckerberg in a Facebook post. The project is part of Facebook’s Internet.org project, which has come under fierce criticism in some countries.
Internet.org is experimenting with different ways of providing internet to hard-to-reach places. Recently, the company told of how it was planning to use a custom-built drone to beam down connectivity. However, in some areas, particularly India, businesses reacted angrily to the plans saying it gave Facebook, and its partners, an unfair advantage in developing internet markets.
The satellite plan aims at using existing satellite technology to provide affordable internet access across the globe. Termed as ‘Optimized for community’, this latest initiative is one such handle through which Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam internet access down into communities from the sky. Zuckerberg wrote – To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies.
The venture partner Eutelsat commented on this ambitious project and said, users on the ground would be able to use ‘off the shelf’ products to access the service when it launches in the second half of 2016. The capacity is optimized for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment. Eutelsat and Facebook will each deploy Internet services designed to relieve pent-up demand for connectivity from the many users in Africa beyond range of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.
Presently, several companies already provide internet-by-satellite, but it is a costly option beyond the reach of most people in the developing world. FB is aiming at making cost-effective access facilities and surely hopes this satellite launch would add to easen the cost burden and expand connectivity reach simultaneously.