I once wrote a parable to make sense of the positions the various players were taking on Internet developments. After the dust settled, I expected them to work together to make money, rather than run behind the ITU or national governments asking for favors. Facebook has been explaining what it wants to do to make the Internet experience better for all users.
Subramanian outlined a couple of its many bold network initiatives it is working on to bring access to the estimated 4.2 billion people who aren’t connected. These include Aquila, its high-altitude solar-power aircraft that beams signals down to remote areas. It is expected to have a range of 20km and stay in the air for months at a time.
Another is its proof-of-concept Aries project, which is a base station with 96 antennas. A population density study across 20 countries found that 90 per cent of people live within 40km of major cities. “Aries can be used to extend coverage from city centres to remote communities without having to provide costly backhaul.”
But the company isn’t just looking at improving access in rural and remote areas. Urban areas, he said, are experiencing a different problem, with backhaul capacity unable to keep up with demand. Its Terragraph solution aims to address this issue with distributed nodes deployed at street level, bringing Ethernet access to buildings.