Oct 06, 2015 06:00 AM EDT

Facebook To Connect The World, Partners With Eutelsat To Provide Free Internet To 14 Countries

By Alex Cruz

Facebook, as part of its mission, partners with Eutelsat, a French satellite company, to provide Internet access to people through a satellite. CNN has learned that the satellite will launch next year, and the service will start running in the second half of 2016, reaching 14 countries in the West, East and Southern Africa.

The social network will get the "next billion" people around the world online, as part of its Internet.org initiative. It aims to use the satellites, lasers and drones.

Using AMOS-6, a $200 million, 5-ton satellite built by Israel Aeorspace Industries, Facebook and Eutelsat will create a system that will be optimized for community and Direct-to-User Internet Access, Venture Beat reported.

"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," Chris Daniels, Facebook's VP for Internet.org program said.

"We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project and investigating new ways to use satellites to connect people in the most remote areas of the world more efficiently," he added.

In late September, Facebook reportedly changed the name of the website that offers the Internet services to Free Basics, which is already available in parts of Africa, Latin America and Asia, according to CNet.

The project, however, faced a lot of reproaches for being unfair. Some reports stated that the users were only permitted to access select websites free of charge, which includes Facebook and some selections of local sites.

A variety of organizations reportedly complained that Internet.org is violating the net neutrality concept by favouring certain contents. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, challenged these criticisms, and reportedly stated that the ultimate goal was to get the two-thirds of the world's offline population to have Internet access.

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