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Facebook Will Beam Free Internet to Sub-Saharan Africa Via Satellite

Facebook today announced a partnership with French satellite operator Eutelsat to provide broadband internet to sub-Saharan Africa.

Facebook has long talked up plans to use satellites to deliver free Internet to unconnected areas of the globe, and the company on Sunday inked a deal that will roll out connections to "large parts of sub-Saharan Africa" next year.

The initiative -- which is a joint venture of Facebook and France-based satellite operator Eutelsat -- will harness Israeli giant Spacecom's AMOS-6 broadband satellite when it launches in the second half of 2016.

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"Facebook’s mission is to connect the world and we believe that satellites will play an important role in addressing the significant barriers that exist in connecting the people of Africa," said Chris Daniels, the vice president of, a project that Facebook and other partners launched in 2013. aims to bring connectivity to the 5 billion people globally who don't have Internet access. The sub-Saharan Africa initiative will be a major rollout for

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The importance of global Internet connectivity is a passion point for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who last week spoke to the United Nations General Assembly about that overall theme and on plans to bring connections to refugee camps.