Facebook’s first satellite will beam Internet to rural Africa starting in 2016

facebook eutelsat satellite africa
With the exception of a select few locations, most of Africa is is beyond the range of traditional fixed and mobile terrestrial network connections. As result, only about 20 percent of the population is able to connect to the Internet. Facebook hopes to change those statistics with a new project in its Internet.org initiative. As part of this program, Facebook is partnering with French satellite communications provider Eutelsat to beam an Internet connection to remote parts of Africa. “I’m excited to announce our first project to deliver Internet from space,” wrote Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook posting.

Facebook is working with Eutelsat to provide Internet access to sub-Saharan portions of Africa via Eutelsat’s new AMOS-6 geostationary satellite, which will cover West, East and Southern Africa. Amazingly, the satellite will deliver affordable broadband Internet using off-the-shelf consumer equipment for connectivity — so it’ll be easy and cheap to build more of these satellites in the future. Eutelsat is setting up a new company in London to oversee its African broadband business, while Facebook will work locally in Africa to deliver Internet service to rural communities. The satellite-based service is expected to go online in mid-2016

The African satellite project is part of Facebook’s broader Internet.org initiative which debuted in 2013. Through Internet.org, Facebook wants to connect the world by providing internet access to developing countries worldwide. When it launched, Internet.org was highly criticized for providing access only to Facebook and a handful of other web sites and services instead of the full, open internet. Available in countries such as India, Indonesia and Bolivia, Internet.org responded to critics by recently expanding its service to include any sites that meet Facebook’s development criteria.

Mobile

Apple confirms it’s collecting data on foot to improve its Maps app

Apple has been using cars and satellites to improve its Maps app, and it's now confirmed it's also using tech-laden pedestrians to collect data from the streets in a bid to provide better walking directions.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Global internet, quantum computing prove the future is now

Global internet, quantum computing, and fire-resistant exoskeletons may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but as we learned on today's episode of DT Daily, all these things may soon be reality.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.
Emerging Tech

Would you swap your keycard for a microchip implant? For many, the answer is yes

Put down your keycard! More people are turning to implanted RFID chips as their choice of workplace identification. Should we be worried about a world in which employees get microchipped?
Outdoors

‘Super magnesium’ may be the next wonder material for outdoor gear

Super Magnesium is a wonder material that is 30 percent lighter than aluminum, as strong as carbon fiber, cheaper to make, and 100-percent recyclable, making it much better for the environment.
Emerging Tech

Forget joysticks — the Guts Game is controlled by a sensor that you swallow

Researchers have created an unusual new game in which players swallow a biosensor and then compete to raise or lower the temperature in their gut. Sound crazy? Here's why it could catch on.
Emerging Tech

Step inside the Nepalese restaurant staffed by robot waiters

A robotics startup from Nepal has created a robot waiter called Ginger. It's capable of delivering food from kitchen to table, and can even engage customers in a bit of friendly banter as it does so.
Emerging Tech

Doctors could soon ditch stitches and seal skin wounds with lasers

Just like the dermal regenerator in Star Trek, physicians may soon be able to heal skin wounds using smart, laser-based technology. That's thanks to researchers from Arizona State University.
Emerging Tech

From tornado flushes to remote controls, modern toilets are flush with tech

With the global observance of World Toilet Day on November 19, we take a look at how the modern toilet in our homes and businesses have evolved, and how they are becoming smarter tools in the future.
Emerging Tech

NASA selects the all-important landing site for its Mars 2020 rover mission

NASA said on Monday that the landing site for its much-anticipated Mars 2020 rover mission has the potential to "revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbor life."
Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘space wheat’ is helping earthbound farmers grow crops quicker

Could NASA technology for growing plants on other planets help farmers improve crop yield here on Earth? According to researchers in Australia and the U.K., the answer is a resounding yes.