Facebook reaffirms its ambition to connect the world

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Facebook disclosed for the first time its plan to build a 37,000 km submarine cable called 2Africa in the spring of 2020, and announced a Expansion last month. It is expected to be completed in 2023 or 2024. It is speculated that the new transatlantic cable project will provide 200 times the capacity of the submarine cable laid in early 2000.

Its latest announcement is not just for Africa or other emerging markets. Bombyx robots can be deployed anywhere in the existing power structure because it utilizes power lines that have already been constructed; Facebook said that it has launched 30,000 Terragraphs in places such as Anchorage, Alaska and Perth, Australia.

As far as the robot is concerned, Bombyx looks beautiful. After the technician puts it on the power cord, it will crawl along the wire, winding itself around the cable while walking, winding out Kevlar reinforced fiber (both for strength, but also to withstand the heat of the medium voltage power line). Since robots need a certain balance to stay online, the Facebook team said they have redesigned the robot to make it lighter, more flexible, and more stable. After determining that a single optical fiber can provide Internet access to as many as 1,000 homes in the nearby area, it reduced the robot’s load from 96 optical fibers to 24.

To be clear, Facebook has not reinvented fiber optic cables. It came up with a plan to use existing power infrastructure to run them on the ground instead of digging trenches and laying cables underground. It proposes a semi-autonomous way to do this. By building a robot, it claims that it will eventually be able to “install more than one kilometer of fiber and autonomously pass dozens of intermediate obstacles within an hour and a half.”

As for Terragraph, Facebook’s Rabinovitsj and Maguire describe Terragraph as a system composed of multiple technologies. It relies on the 802.11ay standard developed by the WiFi Alliance. This is a technical reference design developed in cooperation with Qualcomm. It is also a mesh Wi-Fi system that uses nodes on the existing street structure, such as lamp posts and traffic lights. They say that the result is that the speed of the multi-gigabit matches the speed of the fiber-optic line-but in this case, it is transmitted over the air.

“This means that anyone can deploy it without having to obtain a license from the regulator,” Maguire said. “So this makes it very affordable and is one of its other innovations.”

Complaints from human rights activists

When building fiber optic networks, it is not unwise for Facebook to try to use existing infrastructure and reduce labor costs. But the company’s earlier involvement in the telecommunications field has made telecommunications operators and human rights activists angry.Someone accused the company Building a two-tier Internet This may widen the gap in access.

In the interview, Rabinovitsj, who leads Facebook Connectivity, insisted that Facebook is not an Internet service provider and has no interest in becoming an Internet service provider. He said that the company does not want to get income from the project, but licenses the technology to others for free. However, he does admit that Facebook does benefit from more data being shared globally, and anyone else with digital assets will also benefit.

Peter Micek, the general counsel of the digital civil rights non-profit organization Access Now, has received funding for the organization’s RightsCon conference from Facebook in the past. He said that in the past four years, the speed of fiber deployment for wired Internet access has basically stagnated. Is “not ideal. This will not happen at the speed needed to get the next billion people online soon.” He said that people in less developed countries “still rely heavily on mobile devices, but they There are still many things that can’t be done.”

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