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Facebook and Viasat launch rural broadband partnership

Rendering for illustration. Provided by Viasat.jpg

Viasat, a global satellite communications company, has struck a partnership with social media giant Facebook to offer high-speed internet services in rural Mexico.

The partnership will see Viasat and Facebook work together to deploy the satellite firm’s Community Wi-Fi hotspot service initially in remote areas of Mexico, with the potential to expand the service globally.

Viasat’s satellite-powered broadband service offers wifi directly to customers where internet services were previously unavailable of ineffective. It requires minimal local infrastructure, meaning it is rapidly scalable in emerging markets.

The agreement will see Facebook investing in the roll-out, working with Viasat to help identify new deployment locations covered by Viasat’s range of satellites. The company did not close any financials around the deal, but the service will be delivered on a pre-paid basis.

“Facebook is committed to working with industry partners around the world to help bring more people online to a faster internet,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president, Facebook Connectivity.

“Viasat’s rapidly growing Community Wi-Fi hotspot service, already available to over one million people in rural Mexico, is an example of a model that can help overcome the global connectivity challenges of accessibility and affordability, particularly in hard to reach rural areas. We are excited to partner with an industry leader like Viasat to accelerate Wi-Fi network deployments. Our joint initiative will enable more people to connect with friends and family, share knowledge and access education and career opportunities.”

Viasat first launched its Community Wi-Fi service in Mexico less than a year ago, and it has already brought internet services with speeds of up to 100Mbps to more than one million citizens. It leverages connectivity provided by the Viasat-2 satellite, which was launched in 2017 and went live in February of last year.

Viasat is currently in the process of building a global constellation of three next-generation ultra-high-capacity satellites, known as the ViaSat-3 class of satellites, with the aim of bringing affordable high-speed, high-quality internet connectivity to some of the world’s most remote locations.

“Enabling the next four billion internet users to come online is one of the grand challenges of our time – and participating in that is also one of the most exciting and rewarding opportunities of the mobile internet era,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, Viasat.

“Rural communities, especially in emerging markets, are often the hardest to serve economically, yet are a vivid example of how Viasat’s innovative space communication systems can bring broadband communication services to the places that need it most, at the lowest bandwidth costs. We are pleased with the support that Facebook is bringing to our initiative and excited about the opportunity to accelerate the pace at which we can scale.”

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