Eutelsat partners Facebook to bridge digital divide in underserved Africa

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By Juliet Umeh

Satellite Operating company, Eutelsat Communications, has said it is partnering Facebook to expand use of the Express Wi-Fi platform to provide broadband services via satellite across several regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The company said it is aiming to connect thousands of people in rural and underserved communities spanning Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, and Zimbabwe with Express Wi-Fi.

Express Wi-Fi is a platform developed by Facebook Connectivity that enables partners to build, grow and monetize their Wi-Fi businesses in a scalable way while providing their customers with fast, affordable and reliable internet access.

It explained that Express Wi-Fi is used in more than 30 countries, including in multiple Asian, South American, and African markets, helping millions of people connect over Wi-Fi.

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Eutelsat and Facebook have previously conducted successful pilots in rural and underserved areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC enabling local businesses to offer affordable internet access to customers on a pre-paid basis. To date, Eutelsat’s use of the Express Wi-Fi platform has enabled access to affordable broadband for thousands of individuals across the DRC.

General Manager of Konnect Africa, Philippe Baudrier, said: “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. We are proud once again to leverage the unparalleled coverage of Eutelsat Konnect to satisfy this growing demand.”

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Also, Head of Connectivity Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook, Fargani Tambeayuk, said: “At Facebook, we’re committed to working with partners to help expand connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to be the region with the highest coverage gap.

“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 Wi-Fi platform and Eutelsat Konnect, with the goal of increasing satellite broadband coverage across rural and underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.”


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