Facebook has launched "Connectivity," an umbrella platform for Facebook's global internet connectivity initiatives. Through movements in analytics, free internet basics, high-altitude connectivity, and more, Facebook is working to bring more of the world online.
Because of issues like affordability and accessibility, over half (52%) of the world's population is still without internet, according to the UN's 2017 State of Broadband report. But well before this report, in 2013, Mark Zuckerberg attempted to bring attention to the connectivity problem. Composing a 10-page white paper, Zuckerberg proclaimed that everyone deserved connectivity, and that Facebook would help achieve that dream. Zuckerberg's paper was accompanied by the launch of Internet.org, Facebook's first initiative towards global connectivity.
SEE: Internet of Things policy (Tech Pro Research)
Now, five years later, the company is trying to recharge these efforts. Connectivity brings all of Facebook's ideas and movements towards global connectivity under one roof.
"Building upon the work that began with Internet.org in 2013, we're collaborating with partners around the world to help connect the approximately 3.8 billion people who aren't yet online," the site's mission statement reads.
While certain areas of the world are rapidly advancing toward next-gen connectivity with technologies like 5G—that isn't the case for every locale. Additionally, certain geographies each have their own unique challenges.
"Communities come in all sizes and across all regions, but many aren't currently being served by traditional methods of connectivity. Urban areas don't have enough bandwidth to support more devices running more data-heavy experiences, and in remote communities the technology is often too expensive to deploy," said Facebook's Connectivity page. "We know that there is no silver bullet for connecting the world; no single technology or program will get the job done. Rather than look for a one-size-fits-all solution, we are investing in a building-block strategy"
According to Connectivity, Facebook has developed new analytics tools to help their partners improve, create, and operate networks more efficiently. This aspect of the initiative could improve existing networks and create new ones, helping bring more people—and businesses—online in the process.
The company is also working on connecting with mobile phone services to provide areas with free online information like news, educational resources, local job listings, and more, said the site. This could help boost educational levels in certain areas and bring new opportunities to professionals.
"Connectivity is at the heart of Facebook's mission to bring the world closer together," said Jay Parikh, Facebook's head of engineering and infrastructure, in his blog post. "High-quality internet access enables richer communications and creates new opportunities to share knowledge and strengthen communities and economies."
Check out TechRepublic's article on low-Earth satellites to see other ways Facebook is trying to get people connected.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Facebook's Connectivity site brings all its ideas and movements towards global internet connection under one roof.
- Connectivity showcases Facebook's tools, like analytics and free basics, toward achieving its long-standing goal of bringing the world online.
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.