Facebook gives up on Internet.org satellite delivery


Facebook has reportedly decided to abandon plans to use satellite-based broadband delivery for hard to reach areas in a quest to get the whole world online.

The company was hoping to use satellites to beam down its walled Internet.org service, which sets out to give everyone access to a limited range of websites.

A source "familiar with the situation" told The Information Facebook was planning to spend up to $1bn (644m) to build and launch a satellite that would ensure some places without data infrastructure would be able to access its services.

The source did not share whether Facebook has decided against using the technology because of the cost or for other concerns. However, the plans to provide everyone around the world with basic internet has come under a lot of scrutiny from groups who feel it is unfair only basic internet would be available. Other critics say it is not in line with net neutrality because Facebook would essentially be creating a monopoly and would not give users sufficient choice.

Facebook is also exploring the possibility of using drones to deliver broadband services to areas not connected by mobile internet.

Internet.org is available in a number of countries around the world including India, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Columbia, with Mark Zuckerberg revealing he plans to launch the service in Europe too in the future.

"When we talk about connecting the world, most people talk about the clear benefits to all the people who will get internet access and don't have it today," he said when questioned about the benefits of Internet.org. "Those benefits are many: access to education, health information, jobs and so on. Many people estimate that for every 1 billion people we connect, we'll raise more than 100m out of poverty."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.