Facebook Continues Its Rural Broadband Quest


The massive company is reaching out for help to do it.

An estimated 3.8 billion people still can't get online. As the rest of us increasingly move our lives to the Internet, those without access increasingly fall behind.

While the U.S. government is undertaking the effort for areas in the U.S. without Internet access, Facebook is juggling multiple initiatives to increase connectivity internationally. The tech company made multiple announcements about the state of these efforts at the 2018 Mobile World Congress.

Specifically, Facebook is joining up with other telecom companies to bring these projects to fruition.

One of these projects is Terragraph, a millimeter-wave wireless technology which relies on the same frequency as hypothetical 5G networks. It will be deployed into field trials in two locations, Budapest and Kuala Lumpur.

Another project, OpenCellular, is available for partner trials. According to Facebook  it is a "low-power base station optimized for underserved regions across the globe."

The Telecom Infra Project has the most partnerships. Initially launchd two years ago, TIP is a collaboration between tech firms to accelerate development of infrastructure for rural areas in need. The project has more than 500 members, with China Unicom, Sprint, and Telenor the latest to join.

"By working together as a community,we believe we can help operators build more robust and flexible networks necessary to meet new technology challenges and unlock new ways of connecting people," wrote Jay Parikh, Facebook's head of engineering and infrastructure.