Israeli satellite to supply sub-Saharan Africa with free internet
A joint venture by Israeli company Spacecom, Facebook, and French satellite provider Eutelsat aims to bring internet access to millions of people who aren’t currently connected.
Alexander J. Apfel
An Israeli space company, Spacecom, is developing its newest satellite for Facebook and French satellite provider Eutelsat, in a venture intended to supply free Internet to millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
The project is part of Facebook’s Internet.org non-for-profit initiative of providing affordable or free Internet to countries with limited or no access to what founder, Mark Zuckerberg describes as “the knowledge economy.”
The AMOS-6 satellite, successor to the AMOS-2, will be equipped with 36 beams enabling it to cover the Middle East, Central East Europe and much of Africa. It will also contain enhanced backup capabilities in order to provide the highest service reliability.
Omri Arnon, Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at AMOS-Spacecom, explained that Israel’s interest in the initiative was not merely related to economics. In fact, the decision had much to do with the vast opportunity which can be afforded to the millions of new recipients who will, in the near future, be able to explore much of the world that has thus far been closed to them.
“Connecting people that have no connectivity to the Internet is one of the fundamental challenges of our time. When people have access to the internet, they can connect with their friends, family and communities,” Arnon said.
Moreover, the satellite will enable residents of sub-Saharan Africa to reap the economic and
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