Facebook Mobile Traveling Far And Wide
Expanding Internet access has long been among the chief goals of various web companies and tech world leaders. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have all been working on ways to make the World Wide Web truly world wide. Mind you, the motivations aren’t completely altruistic. The more people on the web, the more people who can sign up for Facebook and use Google Search, among other things.
Now, Facebook has announced that it will work with France’s Eutelsat Communications to expand internet into Africa. Forget fiber optic lines and all that, Facebook is looking to use a satellite instead. The project, which is housed under the company’s internet.org organization, is already under construction and is currently slated to be launched in 2016.
The satellite will be called AMOS-6, and it will help provide Internet access to large parts of West, East and Southern Africa. Despite the immense proliferation of the web, Facebook points out that as much as two-thirds of the world’s population lacks access to the Internet.
Facebook Internet Provides Mobile Accessibility To Millions
Little is known about the satellite itself. No exact launch date has been given, nor has a price tag been disclosed. It’s also unclear how people will access the web, though people close with the project have said that users will be able to use off-the-shelf equipment.
Africa offers a huge potential for growth for Facebook. So far, only about 20 million Africans are on the social network, but Facebook is expanding its efforts. Besides the aforementioned project, the company also opened its first office in Africa, this one located in Johannesburg.
Building the basic infrastructure to grant Internet access, such as fiber optic cables, is expensive. At the same time, some regions, including much of Africa, as sparsely populated. Thus, there would be no economic access to connect tiny, poor villages to the web, at least not through traditional means.
That’s why companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are all working so hard to get creative. Google has been developing technologies to use with satellites, blimps, and microcells, for example. Numerous other companies and organizations are working on a wide range of technologies that could help deliver the web to poor, rural areas.
Facebook Mobile Apps
So far, Facebook’s activities through Internet.org have been somewhat limited. The company did launch an app through the program that contained a stripped down version of Facebook and other valuable Internet services, such as Wikipedia. In theory, this app was easier to use on low-powered cellphones with limited web access, and helped introduce new users in poorer regions to the power of the Internet. Still, the satellite program offers a serious step forward.
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By Brian Brinker