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Facebook set to beam free internet via satellite to Africans

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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)
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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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Hillary Clinton Wishes to Head the Facebook

The former US presidential candidate was at Harvard on Friday receiving the Radcliffe Medal, which honours people who have "had a transformative impact on society".

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In a bid to prevent foreign interference into elections, facebook has also begun labelling all political and issue ads in the us -- including a
Hillary Clinton is willing to head the Social media giant, Facebook. VOA

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might be willing to swap a life in politics to lead the world’s largest social-networking company, a media report said.

On being asked by Attorney General Maura Healey, a democrat from Massachusetts, which company she would want to be the CEO of, Clinton didn’t pause before quickly answering “Facebook”, CNET reported on Friday.

“It’s the biggest news platform in the world. Most people in our country get their news — true or not from Facebook,” Clinton was quoted as saying.

In a bid to prevent foreign interference into elections, facebook has also begun labelling all political and issue ads in the us -- including a "paid for by" disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the advertisement.
Facebook CEO of Mark Zuckerberg Wikimedia commons

The former US presidential candidate was at Harvard on Friday receiving the Radcliffe Medal, which honours people who have “had a transformative impact on society”.

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Facebook is working to win back its users’ trust following a series of recent controversies, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which data from as many as 87 million Facebook users was improperly shared with the political consultancy.

In a bid to prevent foreign interference into elections, Facebook has also begun labelling all political and issue ads in the US — including a “Paid for by” disclosure from the advertiser at the top of the advertisement.

Advertisers wanting to run ads with political content in the US will also need to verify their identity and location. (IANS)