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

by Julianne Pepitone /  / Updated 

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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.

Related: Zuckerberg to U.N.: We'll Bring Internet to Refugee Camps

"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 Internet.org, a project that Facebook and other partners launched in 2013.

Internet.org 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 Internet.org.

Related: Facebook Gives Users New Way to Block Targeted Ads

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.

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