Eutelsat, Facebook augment WiFi connectivity project in Africa
Satellite operator Eutelsat Communications is building up its use of the Express WiFi platform, together with Facebook, to provide broadband services via satellite across several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
With Express WiFi, the company aims to connect thousands of people in rural and underserved communities spanning Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
The Express WiFi platform is being used in more than 30 countries, including in multiple Asian, South American and African markets, connecting millions of people to WiFi.
The platform was developed by Facebook Connectivity, and the companies say it enables partners to build, grow and monetise their WiFi businesses in a scalable way.
In a statement, Eutelsat and Facebook say they previously conducted successful pilots in rural and underserved areas of the DRC, enabling local businesses to offer “affordable Internet access to customers on a prepaid basis”.
To date, Eutelsat says, the use of the Express WiFi platform has enabled access to affordable broadband for thousands of individuals across the DRC.
“We are delighted to partner with Facebook in this ambitious scheme, aimed at getting more people online in the most underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. This initiative is the perfect example of the power of satellite connectivity to bridge the digital divide, with unmatched economic and social benefits,” says Philippe Baudrier, general manager of Konnect Africa.
“We are proud once again to leverage the unparalleled coverage of Eutelsat Konnect to satisfy this growing demand.”
Facebook says it has committed to working with partners to help expand connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to be the region with the highest coverage gap.
Fargani Tambeayuk, Facebook head of connectivity policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, says: “Connectivity is essential to ensuring access to jobs, education, healthcare and more. We’re proud to partner with Eutelsat to combine the power of the Express WiFi platform and Eutelsat Konnect, with the goal of increasing satellite broadband coverage across rural and underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.”