Facebook Renews Its Ambitions to Connect the World


Facebook first revealed its plans to build a 37,000 -kilometer subsea cable, named 2Africa, in the spring of 2020, and it announced a expansion last month. It is expected to be completed in 2023 or 2024. The new transatlantic cable project will supposedly provide 200 more capacity than submarine cables laid in early 2000.

The latest announcements are not aimed at Africa alone or other emerging markets. The Bombyx robot can be deployed anywhere there are existing power structures, as these use existing power lines; and Facebook said 30,000 Terragraph units have already been launched in Anchorage, Alaska, and Perth, Australia, and other places.

Bombyx is as beautiful, as far as robots go. After a technician puts it on a power line, it crawls down the line, self-wrapping the cable to pass through it, spooling the expanded Kevlar fiber (both for strength and to withstand heat in medium-voltage power lines). Because it requires a specific balance for the bot to stay in line, the Facebook team said it also positioned the bot to be lighter, more reliable, and more robust. And reduced the bot load from 96 fiber optic strands to 24, after it was determined that one fiber could provide internet access to up to 1,000 homes in an adjacent area.

To be clear, Facebook has not updated fiber-optic cables; it devised a plan to run them high ground, using the usual electrical infrastructure, instead of digging canals to put them underground. And it provided a semi-autonomous way to do this, by building a robot that was said to later have the ability to “install more than a kilometer of fiber and pass many intervening obstacles. independent for an hour and a half. “

As for Terragraph, Rabinovitsj and Maguire described on Facebook Terragraph as a system composed of multiple technologies. It relies on the 802.11 standard established by the WiFi Alliance. It’s a technology reference scheme, developed in partnership with Qualcomm. And it’s also a Wi-Fi mesh system that uses nodes in existing street structures, such as light poles and traffic lights. The result, they say, is multi-coupled speeds corresponding to the speeds of fiber lines-but in this case, they are carried by the wind.

“That means anyone can deploy it without having to get a license from a regulator,” Maguire said. “That’s why it makes it the most accessible, and one of the other innovations.”

Complaints From Human Rights Activists

Facebook is not an unwise attempt to take advantage of existing infrastructure and reduce labor costs when it comes to building a fiber network. But previous surveys of the telecommunications company have equated both telecom operators and human rights activists. Some accuse the company of build two levels of internet which can expand access diversity.

In the interview, Rabinovitsj, who heads Facebook Connect, insisted that Facebook is not an internet service provider and is not interested in becoming one. He explained that the company does not intend to give us away from the project and is free to license the technology to others. He agreed, however, that Facebook has benefited from a lot of data being shared around the world, and that anyone with digital property benefits as well.

Peter Micek, general adviser for digital civil rights nonprofit Access Now-who previously received funding from Facebook for the organization’s RightsCon conference-said that over the past four years, the rate of fiber deployment for wired internet access has really stopped, which is “not ideal. It’s not happening at the rates necessary to bring the next billion people online at any given time.” He said people in less developed countries “Still relying on mobile, but there’s still a lot you can’t do on mobile.”



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