As the internet becomes ever more pervasive in the way we live and work, the technologies used to bring people online have not kept pace.
Even as per person data consumption increases by 20-30% every year, nearly half the world is being left behind — either lacking adequate access to the internet or remaining completely unconnected.
New technological breakthroughs are needed to solve this challenge and bring more people online to a faster, more reliable internet. Facebook Connectivity works with partners to develop these technologies and bring them to people across the world. Since 2013, Facebook Connectivity has accelerated access to a faster internet for more than 300M people around the world.
Earlier this week, during an event called Inside the Lab, our engineers shared the latest developments on some of our connectivity technologies, which aim to improve internet capacity across the world by sea, land and air:
- Subsea cables connect continents and are the backbone of the global internet. Our first-ever transatlantic subsea cable system will connect Europe to the U.S. This new cable provides 200X more internet capacity than the transatlantic cables of the 2000s. This investment builds on other recent subsea expansions, including 2Africa PEARLS which will be the longest subsea cable system in the world connecting Africa, Europe and Asia.
- To slash the time and cost required to roll out fiber-optic internet to communities, we’ve developed a robot called Bombyx that moves along power lines, wrapping them with fiber cable. Since we first unveiled Bombyx, it has become lighter, faster and more agile, and we believe it could have a radical effect on the economics of fiber deployment around the world.
- We’ve also developed Terragraph, a wireless technology that delivers internet at fiber speed over the air. This technology has already brought high-speed internet to more than 6,500 homes in Anchorage, Alaska, and deployment has also started in Perth, Australia, one of the most isolated capital cities in the world.
Bombyx wraps fiber around existing telephone wires, clearing obstacles and flipping as it needs to along its route.
We’re proud to reach our milestone of bringing high-speed reliable internet to more than 300M people — but the work doesn’t stop there. Connecting the next billion will require many different approaches.
And as people look for more immersive experiences in new virtual spaces like the metaverse, we need to increase access to a more reliable and affordable internet for everyone. We believe this work is fundamental for creating greater equity where everyone can benefit from the economic, education and social benefits of a digitally connected world.