According to reports social media giant, Facebook, is in advanced talks with Avanti, a UK-based satellite operator regarding a project that will essentially provide free internet services in Africa. The project is part of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative, as reported by The Telegraph.
The deal is expected to be announced in due course. Avanti currently operates two broadband satellites over Africa and plans to launch another two in the next three years. Facebook has reportedly turned to Avanti after its appeal to mobile operators to provide free internet access received a cool reception. Neither company would comment on the matter.
According to internet.org, if developing economies had the standard of internet access enjoyed in rich countries global productivity would be boosted by 25% and 160 million people would be lifted out of poverty.
By signing a commercial deal with Avanti, Facebook could bypass the network operators entirely and cover a massive area of Africa at a relatively low cost.
IT News Africa recently interviewed Chris Daniels, Facebook’s Vice President for Internet.org. Daniels explains in the interview that Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. Daniels also explains that Internet.org also has a mission, which is connecting the two thirds of the world that don’t have access to the internet.