Facebook Inc is actively working on a technology that is similar to gigbit mesh networks on which Starry is working under its new venture, says a report from The Verge. Though Facebook is still to be granted the patent, it could start a race between the social media firm and Starry to get an upper hand in the tech.
To support Internet.org
In October, Sanjai Kohli – a Facebook employee – filed a patent, but it was made public the week after Starry’s announcement “— describes a “Next Generation Data Network” that would connect computers using millimeter-wave radio links deployed as a mesh network.” Starry’s scheme also has mesh and millimetre-wave technology as central ideas.
At the end of 2015, Kohli was granted another patent in which the Next Generation Network is described as a routing system that is kind of centralized and cloud-based. “The system dynamically adjusts route and frequency channel assignments, transmit power, modulation, coding, and symbol rate to maximize network capacity and probability of packet delivery, rather than trying to maximize the capacity of any one link,” describes the patent.
Facebook Inc gave its confirmation on the millimetre-wave research to The Verge, saying “This work is part of the Connectivity Lab which supports the mission of Internet.org — to connect the four billion people who don’t have Internet access.”
Connectivity Lab is working on a number of such projects such as systems that would provide connections through satellites or drone-mounted lasers. However, there is no guarantee that Facebook’s millimetre-wave system will ever be built as is the case with most patents.
Facebook faces a defeat in India
In separate news, Facebook’s Free Basics, which is a free but restricted internet service, has been banned in India. This national telecom regulator of the country ruled that the program and others like it infringe the principles of net neutrality. This ruling aimed at the general practice of zero-rated internet services and not at Free Basics.
The decision came after a long battle between Facebook and country’s net neutrality advocates. Last December, the service was blocked in India temporarily while its case was with TRAI for consideration, but other services – like Airtel Zero – had become subjects of protests previously.
With Free Basics Facebook Inc made an attempt to offer subsidized content, but it is not the only program of its kind in India. However, it faced protests because it was more visible than the others. The temporary ban led the firm to start a campaign to try and win public support, and it reportedly spent nearly $45m on Free Basics promotion through billboards and newspaper ads.
At 11.37 am EST, Facebook shares were up 2.53% at $101.92. Year to date, the stock is down over 2% while in the last one-year, it is up almost 36%.