Technology alone, while cool and backed by billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, is not enough to bring the roughly 3.5 billion people around the world who still don’t use the internet online.
That’s why I appreciate the holistic approach taken by Facebook, which intelligently considers the complexity of the challenge.
The company’s initiative began a few years ago with the simple but profound premise that everyone – governments, citizens, and companies, including Facebook and companies that sell internet services and equipment – should benefit from the internet to spread it all. parts. For that, it was necessary to find ways to reduce the costs of connecting the world.
If this sounds a bit boring or difficult to understand … this is it. Facebook’s approach is mostly boring, which I love, and much less visible than the satellites, drones, or helium balloons of billionaires, used to bring internet service to more places. Instead, Facebook is doing things like sharing fiber lines to transfer data and inventing software for cheaper cell phones. (Yes, Facebook is doing something really useful!).
There is likely no one absolute solution to bring the internet to the rest of the world, but rather a diversity of approaches involving effective government policies, concerned corporations like Facebook, charitable funding, and local community organizations tailoring internet technologies and policies to suit. your needs.
Connecting billions of people requires a million different tactics and some powerful – and often boring – strategies.
Here are some examples of what Facebook is doing: In North Carolina, Facebook shares the fast internet lines it built for its computer centers with a nonprofit internet provider that serves rural schools and healthcare facilities. Fast internet connections cost a fortune, and sharing them relieves the burden.
Facebook also designed a technology – and published its blueprints for free – that companies are using to make relatively inexpensive internet equipment, which is attached to utility poles or rooftops in places where underground tunneling is impractical. lay conventional internet pipes. Alaska Communications recently said it is using equipment based on Facebook designs to achieve faster internet connections in Fairbanks and Anchorage.
Also, let’s imagine that Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile had a joint wireless network. That’s basically what Facebook did with its partners in Peru to collaborate on a mobile internet network in a sparsely populated area. Otherwise, wiring those zones would have cost too much for the companies’ low potential revenue. Facebook said the project has covered about 1.5 million Peruvians with 4G service since it began two years ago.