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Facebook, Eutelsat Team to Provide Internet to Subordinated-Saharan Africa

10/05/2015 | 03:18pm US/Eastern
By Deepa Seetharaman 

Facebook Inc. is teaming with French satellite operator Eutelsat Communications SA to deliver Internet coverage to parts of sub-Saharan Africa beginning next year.

The companies said they would tap communications capability on the Amos-6 satellite expected to be launched in 2016. Amos-6 is being built by Israel's Spacecom.

Facebook and Eutelsat said they expect to begin beaming Internet coverage to parts of West, East and Southern Africa in the second half of next year.

The partnership is part of Facebook's Internet.org initiative to extend Internet access to many areas of the developing world where it isn't now available.

"To connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so we need to invent new technologies," Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook will work with local partners "to help communities begin accessing Internet services provided through satellite."

Facebook and Eutelsat said they have a "multi-year agreement" with Spacecom to use Amos-6's broadband capacity.

Eutelsat said it is establishing a new company based in London to lead its African broadband business, focusing initially on premium consumer and professional segments, according to a statement.

Write to Deepa Seetharaman at Deepa.Seetharaman@wsj.com

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