Facebook is one step closer to finally beaming Internet down from space.
The social network is teaming up with the French satellite company Eutelsat to launch a satellite that will provide internet access to people in sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite will launch next year and service will start in the second half of 2016. It will reach 14 countries in West, East and Southern Africa.
Facebook will use the satellite to bring free Internet access to rural areas. The company is using satellites, lasers and drones to get the “next billion” people around the world online as part of its Internet.org initiative. It has already connected people in nearly 20 countries.
“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,” said Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org, in a statement.