This week, Facebook Inc. put its means to dominate the internet into motion. Far over 1.5 billion people around the world make use of the social network. The exact number was last reported to be 1.65 billion and rising. However, that figure mostly accounts for the developed world and, frankly, is approaching its cap. The company’s only means for expansion is breaking into the remote regions of the globe. There is only one problem though: such regions often have very poor or no internet access at all.
OpenCellular from Facebook
It is no secret that Facebook wants to get the world online. It would be naive, though, to think that the company’s efforts to make this a reality are driven purely by generosity. More users on its platform means more people to make money from, and a significantly large portion of the company’s revenues come from ad dollars. Today, Facebook is arguably the most ideal ad platform.
However, having just over 1.5 billion users is still far below the 7 billion humans that roam around the the planet. Basically, there is still an entire world to be conquered, but a large portion of it is unexposed to the internet. Addressing this issue, Facebook Inc. Launched OpenCellular on Wednesday.
OpenCellular is Facebook’s answer to getting unconnected regions online with the rest of the world. It is a wireless, open source platform that can support a number network standards. Its software and hardware welcome anything from 2G and upwards. LTE isn’t barred either, nor are Wi-Fi signals and their likes.
OpenCellular truly is an empowering tool though. Facebook says the device can be used by “anyone — from telecom operators to researchers to entrepreneurs –can build and operate wireless networks in remote places.”
Beyond that, the system can be updated to accommodate future standards as well, so tech innovation isn’t limited but is actually encouraged. “It’s the size of a shoebox and can support up to 1,500 people from as far as 10 kilometers away,” wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook puts the Internet everywhere
The device is compact, simple to install and durable enough to survive the most extreme weather conditions.
Facebook is working hard to make the device widely available. The race is on with other tech giants like Google and Apple. They are working on their own means to break into developing regions too. The idea is simple; go to a place with no exposure to the internet, then introduce and promote it in your company’s image.
OpenCellular is currently being tested at Facebook HQ. It is expected to get its first regional implementation this summer. It’s not the coolest way the social network is promoting the net though. That title goes to Aquila, which is Facebook Inc.’s solar-powered drone that hovers around providing free internet to those below.