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Satellite powers Facebook in Africa

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Satellite operator SES has announced a satellite broadband deal with Facebook to provide high-speed broadband connectivity services to sub-Saharan Africa.
The agreement will support Facebook’s Express WiFi programme that is part of its Internet.org initiative.
Facebook will deliver high speed broadband connectivity using three SES satellites – ASTRA 2G, ASTRA 3B and ASTRA 4A. In addition, SES is providing Facebook with customised SES Enterprise+ broadband services.
SES designed a tailored service using its satellite, data centre and implementation services with integrated features such as security, protocol enhancement, and hosting. The solution includes Gilat Satellite Networks’ X-Architecture platform that will enable Facebook’s local African partners to deliver internet services to underconnected and unconnected communities using Facebook’s Express WiFi access product.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with SES and Facebook on this worthy initiative to bridge the digital divide,” says Ron Levin, director: strategic accounts at Gilat. “The turn-key solution provided to Facebook is based on expanding SES base with Gilat’s most advanced X-Architecture for SkyEdge II-c platform to deliver a scalable and optimised satellite-enabled broadband solution in Africa.”
Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer of SES, adds: “SES has the solutions and satellites that can satisfy Facebook’s demand to enable and provide broadband connectivity for Express WiFi.
“Our new data network, SES Plus, highlights the strengths of SES as a network operator. We pride ourselves on working with our customers to design and deliver customised and differentiated products that enable them to excel in their markets.
“An agreement such as this with Facebook, where we designed a whole new customisable, flexible and scalable solution, is another step SES has taken to satisfy the fast expanding broadband connectivity market in Africa.”