Facebook To Provide Free Internet For Africans

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Social media giant, Facebook, is said to be in talks with Avanti Communications, a UK based satellite operator, to provide internet access across Africa, for free.

The deal is part of Mark Zuckerberg’s internet.org initiative. The initiative aims to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world’s population lacking proper access.

“If developing countries had the level of internet service enjoyed in developed economies, 160 million people will be taken out of poverty and global productivity would be boosted by 25 percent.” The Telegraph quoted internet.org.

Facebook turned to the UK based company chaired by Paul Walsh, a former Chief Executive of Diageo, after his appeal to mobile operators in a conference early this year received a chilled welcome.

At the GSMA’s World Congress held in Barcelona Spain in February, the founder of Facebook, gave a keynote speech where he asked mobile operators to help create a basic dial tone for the Internet. The dial tone will enable people have access to basic social media, basic web information, etc. He further stated that this would help boost digital literacy, and acceptance of mobile internet as well as increase sales of handsets.

Vittorio Colao, the CEO of Vodafone, a key mobile operator player in the developing world, was quoted by Telegraph saying “There was no reason I should give my network capacity for free.”

By signing this deal with Avanti, Facebook can cover a huge portion of Africa at a relatively low cost.

Avanti currently owns two broadband satellites around Africa and also plans to launch two more in the next three years within Africa.

It is expected that this initiative will be quicker to start and more dependable than other trial technologies currently in progress. Facebook and Google are battling to launch the first drone that will provide internet connectivity to the most remote areas of the world. Source: Ventures Africa

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