Facebook unveils technology to get one billion people online

Last updated on October 12, 2021 at 05.36 pm

Facebook Connectivity has announced new technologies designed to help bring the next billion people online to a faster internet.

The technologies include a 24 fibre pair subsea cable system that will connect Europe to the US as part of the 2Africa project; Bombyx, a robotic innovation that will lessen the cost of terrestrial fibre deployment and enable increase its speed; and Terragraph, a wireless solution that beams fibre-like connectivity through the air that will be introduced to bring high-speed internet to consumers.

“Currently, over three billion people - more than half of the world’s population - are unconnected or under connected. Therefore, all of our connectivity work — from building new technologies to advancing new business models and developing the software and tools the industry needs — is focused on improving the economics of expanding Internet access globally. We know that helping our partners create long-term, sustainable solutions will not only improve connectivity today, but create an abundance of access in the future for people all around the world. Currently, over 300 million people have benefited from better infrastructure, network analytics or access technologies, based on our initiatives,” a facebook spokesperson said.

Even as per person data consumption increases by 20-30 per cent every year, nearly half the world is being left behind — either lacking adequate access to the Internet, or remaining completely unconnected. Experts have noted that new technological breakthroughs are needed to solve this challenge and bring more people online to a faster, more reliable internet. Facebook Connectivity works with partners to develop these technologies and bring them to people across the world.

Subsea cables connect continents and are the backbone of the global Internet. Facebook's first-ever transatlantic subsea cable system will connect Europe to the US. This new cable provides 200X more Internet capacity than the transatlantic cables of the 2000s. This investment builds on other recent subsea expansions, including 2Africa PEARLS which will be the longest subsea cable system in the world connecting Africa, Europe and Asia.

To slash the time and cost required to roll out fiber-optic Internet to communities, facebook also developed a robot called Bombyx that moves along power lines, wrapping them with fiber cable. Since it first unveiled Bombyx, it has become lighter, faster and more agile, and experts believe it could have a radical effect on the economics of fiber deployment around the world.

Facebook Connectivity has also developed Terragraph, a wireless technology that delivers Internet at fiber speed over the air. This technology has already brought high-speed Internet to more than 6,500 homes in Anchorage, Alaska, and deployment has also started in Perth, Australia, one of the most isolated capital cities in the world.

Rohma Sadaqat I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.