Rural areas of Africa are currently the focus of attention of several telecom companies. These long neglected market niches are gaining in economic value. Eutelsat and Facebook believe that providing them with connectivity will also help boost their social development.
Connectivity provider Eutelsat Communications and US company Facebook signed a partnership agreement on Friday, May 7 to expand wireless Internet access in Africa. This will result in a collaboration between Eutelsat’s Konnect services and Facebook’s Express Wi-Fi. It’s about connecting thousands of people in rural and underserved communities spanning the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar , South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
According to Philippe Baudrier, CEO of Konnect Africa, “ this initiative is the perfect example of the power of satellite connectivity to bridge the digital divide, with unparalleled economic and social benefits ”. A vision shared by Fargani Tambeayuk, Facebook’s Connectivity Policy Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa, who expressed the company’s determination to work ” with partners to help expand connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa, which remains the region with the greatest coverage gap. Connectivity is essential to ensure access to jobs, education, healthcare and more ”.
The high-speed connectivity access that Eutelsat and Facebook will develop across Africa stems from the need that has increased since last year. In its report “Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Digital Infrastructure”, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that the demand for data will become more pressing in view of the accelerated transformation of the world caused by the global pandemic.
In its report “The State of Mobile Internet Connectivity 2020”, the World Association of Telephone Operators (GSMA) argues that mobile Internet offers substantial benefits to those who use it. Eutelsat and Facebook will therefore facilitate better performance for a larger number of people in daily work, studies, access to useful information, etc.