Facebook hires Eutelsat to offer Wifi in 12 African countries

Facebook hires Eutelsat to offer Wifi in 12 African countries

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Satellite company Eutelsat is working with Facebook to offer broadband connectivity via Wifi in 12 African countries.

The project is to use Facebook’s paid-for Express Wifi platform to connect thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa via Eutelsat’s Konnect service.

Philippe Baudrier, general manager of Eutelsat’s Konnect Africa, said: “This initiative is the perfect example of the power of satellite connectivity to bridge the digital divide, with unmatched economic and social benefits. We are proud once again to leverage the unparalleled coverage of Eutelsat Konnect to satisfy this growing demand.”

Express Wifi is already available via mobile operators, such as Cell C in South Africa, Globe in the Philippines and Vodafone in Ghana, as well as internet service providers in Africa, Asia and South America.

Eutelsat and Facebook have previously conducted successful satellite pilots (pictured) in rural and underserved areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) enabling local businesses to offer affordable internet access to customers on a pre-paid basis.

To date, Eutelsat’s use of the Express Wi-Fi platform has enabled access to affordable broadband for thousands of individuals across the DRC, said the Paris-based satellite company.

The extension will cover DRC as well as Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to working with partners to help expand connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to be the region with the highest coverage gap,” said Fargani Tambeayuk, Facebook’s head of connectivity policy for sub-Saharan Africa. “Connectivity is essential to ensuring access to jobs, education, healthcare and more.”

Facebook’s Express Wifi is already used in more than 30 countries, including in multiple Asian, South American and African markets, said Facebook.