Facebook wants to bring itself (and the Internet) closer

Posted on October 1, 2016  /  2 Comments

facebook-infrastructure-logoI 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.

Image source.


  1. I was invited to Facebook’s Internet.org initiative last year in Colombo and they wanted to provide limited internet access to the public. But it never became a reality. When I contacted FB Asia team, what they told me was that TRCSL did not give them the permission to the project. If that is the case, how can we expect FB to provide Internet free for the masses?

    1. I was also involved in a similar project (not Facebook) trying to delivery public internet in Myanmar. Government was also the limiting factor in our case. I believe partly out of inexperience on how to control such projects, but also because they did not want people clogging the unlicensed channels.