SES, a satellite services provider to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators among others has signed a new deal with Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to use its customised broadband platform and services to provide internet connectivity across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The deal will support Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi programme to deliver high speed broadband connectivity using three SES satellites – ASTRA 2G, ASTRA 3B and ASTRA 4A. SES will also provide Facebook with customised SES Enterprise+ broadband services.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with SES and Facebook on this worthy initiative to bridge the digital divide,” said Ron Levin, Director Strategic Accounts at Gilat. “The turn-key solution provided to Facebook is based on expanding SES base with Gilat’s most advanced X-Architecture for SkyEdge II-c platform to deliver a scalable and optimised satellite-enabled broadband solution in Africa.”
Express Wi-Fi will use satellite, data centre and implementation services wholly secured and hosted by SES. The solution includes Gilat Satellite Networks’ X-Architecture platform that will enable Facebook’s local African partners to deliver internet services to underconnected and unconnected communities using Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi access product.
Ferdinand Kayser, Chief Commercial Officer of SES says its new data network, SES Plus will provide Facebook with the required technology to drive Internet penetration.
“An agreement such as this with Facebook, where we designed a whole new customisable, flexible and scalable solution, is another step SES has taken to satisfy the fast expanding broadband connectivity market in Africa.”
In October 2015, Facebook partnered with Eutelsat to build satellite technologies to get more Africans online to get more Africans online. The project, set to start in the second half of 2016 will also see Spacecom join them to build a satellite and a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals with high gain spot beams covering large parts of West, East and Southern Africa for community and Direct-to-User Internet access.