Facebook Will Use Satellites To Bring Free Internet To Africa

Internet.org keeps moving.

Facebook's Internet.org is an ambitious project that aims to bring Internet connectivity to every human on the planet — currently, two-thirds of the population doesn't have that luxury. It's a pretty noble concept born out of the company and founder Mark Zuckerberg's desire to connect people all over the world, but it understandably won't see total success overnight. However, with strides such as Facebook's use of satellites to bring free Internet to Africa, it's not totally out of the realm of possibility that the goal could one day be reached.

Although Internet.org has taken a bit of heat recently for its violation of net neutrality rules, realistically it's hard to take issue with the project's growing list of good deeds such as attempting to connect refugees to the Internet. Its latest rollout will see Facebook team up with French communications company Eutelsat to literally beam Internet to 14 or more countries in the most densely populated areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The two companies will join with Israeli company Spacecom to take advantage of the "entire broadband payload" on the AMOS-6 satellite, which is set to launch later this year. Ideally, these transmissions would begin in the second half of 2016.

Internet.org is already reaching hundreds of millions of people and Facebook is utilizing many different methods to get new users connected, including an unmanned plane called Aquila that will be able to deliver Internet from 60,000-90,000 feet away. The concept there is to fly over regions currently devoid of Internet, but no concrete plans for when that might happen have yet been released.

As long as Facebook is smart about not pushing its own services too hard via Internet.org and playing fair when it comes to net neutrality, the initiative could very well reach its ultimate goal one day and give its parent company all the positive image it could ever need.

Cover image: Michael Coghlan / Flickr