Facebook in Talks with Satellite Technology Firm in Bid to Provide Free Internet Across Africa
Facebook is in talks with a London-based satellite technology firm about a ground-breaking bid to prove free internet access in large parts of Africa.
The project, under the social network’s Internet.org initiative, is part of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to put the developing world online.
It has been reported the deal with satellite operator Avanti is expected to be announced soon.
Mr Zuckerberg turned to the company after plans to bring the Internet to Africa with mobile operators, including Vodafone, were rejected.
A commercial deal with Avanti would mean Facebook could cover swathes of Africa at a relatively low cost, reported The Telegraph.
The company already owns two broadband satellites positioned over the continent and plans to increase coverage by launching a further three in the next few years.
Facebook’s Internet.org is aimed to ‘bring the Internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it’.
Its mission statement says: ‘No one should have to choose between access to the Internet and food or medicine.
‘Internet.org partners will join forces to develop technology that decreases the cost of delivering data to people worldwide, and helps expand Internet access in underserved communities.’
Internet.org believes if developing economies had the same levels of internet access as in the first world, global productivity would be boosted by 25% and 160million people would be lifted out of poverty.
In an interview with CNN, Mr Zuckerberg said he wanted ‘to put the whole world online’.