Global communications company Viasat Inc., (Nasdaq: VSAT) and Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) announced today a collaboration to accelerate the deployment of affordable, high-speed, high-quality internet to communities that lack reliable internet or have no connectivity at all.
Viasat and Facebook are working together to make the internet accessible to more people in rural areas around the world. The collaboration will help accelerate the deployment of Viasat’s market-leading satellite-enabled Community Wi-Fi hotspot service, which is an innovative, proven approach to bringing high-speed, affordable Wi-Fi directly to consumer’s devices, where internet service was previously unavailable or ineffective. The Viasat service requires minimal local infrastructure, is highly-sustainable and rapidly scalable in emerging markets where large gaps exist among demand, affordability and availability of internet services.
As part of this collaboration, Viasat will place high-speed satellite Wi-Fi hotspots—delivered as an affordable pre-paid service—at thousands of rural locations. Facebook is investing in the roll-out and working with Viasat to help identify optimal deployment locations within Viasat’s current and planned satellite coverage.
“Facebook is committed to working with industry partners around the world to help bring more people online to a faster internet,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president, Facebook Connectivity. “Viasat’s rapidly growing Community Wi-Fi hotspot service, already available to over one 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. We are excited to partner with an industry leader like Viasat to accelerate Wi-Fi network deployments. Our joint initiative will enable more people to connect with friends and family, share knowledge and access education and career opportunities.”
The collaboration will initially focus on Mexico, bringing internet connectivity to remote regions of the country, with an opportunity to expand globally.
“Enabling the next four billion internet users to come online is one of the grand challenges of our time – and participating in that is also one of the most exciting and rewarding opportunities of the mobile internet era,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, Viasat. “Rural communities, especially in emerging markets, are often the hardest to serve economically, yet are a vivid example of how Viasat’s innovative space communication systems can bring broadband communication services to the places that need it most, at the lowest bandwidth costs. We are pleased with the support that Facebook is bringing to our initiative and excited about the opportunity to accelerate the pace at which we can scale.”
Viasat is seeing rapid growth in its Community Wi-Fi service in Mexico. In less than one year since launch, Viasat has already brought the internet within reach to more than one million Mexican citizens—delivering up to 100 Megabit per second speeds at affordable prices. Today the Viasat Community Wi-Fi service leverages the world’s most advanced high-capacity satellite, ViaSat-2, and the Company is currently building a global constellation of three next-generation ultra-high-capacity satellites, known as the ViaSat-3 class of satellites, to bring affordable high-speed, high-quality internet connectivity to the hardest to reach places on earth. For more information on how Viasat’s Community Wi-Fi service works to strengthen local communities and global economies, watch this video of a recent deployment in Mexico.