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Facebook set to beam free internet via satellite to Africans

Ivorian youths look on November 19, 2009 at a cyber cafe in Abidjan at the country's Independent Electoral Commission website, featuring the provisional voter list for the long-awaited presidential election, initially due to take place on November 29. Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo said on October 30 that the vote would be delayed, citing problems with the voting lists. And the Independent Electoral Commission confirmed on November 11 that the vote would be delayed without giving a new date. AFP PHOTO/ SIA KAMBOU (Photo credit should read SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)

London/New York: Social networking site Facebook has announced a partnership with French satellite operator Eutelsat Communications to provide free high-speed internet to get more Africans online by next year.

Scheduled to be launched in 2016, the AMOS-6 satellite is configured with high gain spot beams covering large parts of west, east and southern Africa.

Under a multi-year agreement with global satellite communication company Spacecom, Facebook and Eutelsat will utilise the entire broadband payload on the AMOS-6 satellite and will build a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals, Eutelsat said in a statement on Monday.

In providing reach to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat and Facebook will each be equipped to pursue their ambition to accelerate data connectivity for the many users deprived of the economic and social benefits of the Internet.

“We are going to keep working to connect the entire world even if that means looking beyond our planet,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post. The project is part of Facebook’s ambitious Internet.org project.

Using state-of-the-art satellite technology, Eutelsat and Facebook will each deploy internet services designed to relieve pent-up demand for connectivity from the many users in Africa beyond range of fixed and mobile terrestrial networks.

“Satellite networks are well suited to economically connecting people in low to medium density population areas and the high throughput satellite architecture of AMOS-6 is expected to contribute to additional gains in cost efficiency,” the statement read.

The capacity will enable Eutelsat to step up its broadband activity in Sub-Saharan Africa that was initiated using Ku-band satellites to serve professional users.

Two years ago, Facebook announced Internet.org, an effort to accelerate the rate of connectivity by addressing the physical, economic and social barriers that are keeping people from getting online.

For Facebook, this satellite system represents one of many technology investments to enable cost-effective broadband access to unconnected populations.

It plans to work with local partners across Africa to utilise satellite and terrestrial capacity to deliver services to rural areas.

“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,” Chris Daniels, vice president of Internet.org, said in the statement.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project and investigating new ways to use satellites to connect people in the most remote areas of the world more efficiently,” he added.

According to Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat chairman and CEO, “Eutelsat’s strong track record in operating ‘High Throughput Satellite’ systems will ensure that we can deliver accessible and robust Internet solutions that get more users online and part of the Information Society.”

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Report: Google, Facebook Make Ad Firms Suffer On Dominating Digital Dollars

Search engines such as Google will lose some of their appeal for shopping as Amazon and other retail websites gain favour and advertiser dollars over the next few years

Ad firms suffer as Google, Facebook dominate digital dollars. Pixabay

The dominance of Google and Facebook of digital advertising has led to the number of independent and smaller ad tech companies falling 21 per cent since 2013 to 185 in the second quarter of 2018, the media reported.

According to a report in The New York Times on Sunday, venture capital money going into ad-tech start-ups is falling sharply.

“Online advertising companies have struggled for several years as Google and Facebook solidified their grip on digital dollars, slowing revenue for the others,” added the report, citing global marketing research firms including LUMA Partners.

While spending for online ads was more than $88 billion last year, over 90 per cent of that went to Google or Facebook.

“Amazon is also making inroads into advertising, with a new advertising arm, raising the possibility that it will become a top competitor,” said the report.

The company generated $2.2 billion in revenue from its advertising business in the second quarter this year.

While spending for online ads was more than $88 billion last year, over 90 per cent of that went to Google or Facebook. Pixabay

While Facebook had been predicting its ad revenue to decelerate in 2017, it actually saw a strong growth of 48.8 per cent.

According to a recent Forrester report, brands will invest 55 per cent more in digital marketing by 2023.

“Search engines such as Google will lose some of their appeal for shopping as Amazon and other retail websites gain favour and advertiser dollars over the next few years,” said Forrester.

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The move signifies a shift in the way consumer shopping habits continue to change as they are headed toward Amazon and retail websites for shopping and toward Google and Bing for answers to questions.

“The shift gives Amazon a reason to strengthen its search features — text and voice — for organic traffic, as well as its search advertising platform,” said the report. (IANS)