Facebook uses ViaSat for Mexico ‘hotspots’

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Facebook is investing in California-based Viasat to help with the roll-out of satellite bandwidth for broadband demand.

The first step is helping remote connectivity over Mexico.

Importantly, there will be an opportunity to expand the project globally, according to a statement issued by the companies.

As of last month, the service was available to 1 million people across the country. They use the Viasat-2 satellite system, which went into operation a year ago and which claims to have the highest-capacity satellites in orbit today.

The key USP behind the Facebook ‘Community’-branded service is that it requires minimal infrastructure on the ground — a satellite antenna is installed at a central location within a community, perhaps on the roof of a small grocery store, and that signal can then be spread more than 500 yards. End users pay the local business owner (where the antenna is installed) for a code that enables them to get online for a set amount of time or data. A typical price would be around 50 cents for an hour’s usage or $1.60 for 200Mb of data.

“Facebook is committed to working with industry partners around the world to help bring more people online to a faster Internet,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, VP/Facebook Connectivity. “Viasat’s rapidly growing Community Wi-Fi hotspot service, already available to over 1 million people in rural Mexico, is an example of a model that can help overcome the global connectivity challenges of accessibility and affordability, particularly in hard to reach rural areas.”


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