Facebook Bets on Laser Beams to Connect Communities Without Internet Access


How cool is this? Facebook wants to connect billions of people out there without internet using lasers.  Facebook’s Connectivity lab is developing a laser based system that will be used in conjunction with traditional communication systems. According to Internet Live Stats, only 40% of people around the world are connected to the internet. The rest, roughly 4 billion people in the world, don’t have internet and although for the rest of us, Internet use is a normal thing, for some communities, they have never heard of it or have heard of it but are unable to connect due to several reasons.

The company’s Internet.org initiative seeks to connect the other 60% of the world’s population using laser beams between drones and satellites. The initiative has identified reasons why more people are not connected to the internet which among them are mobile networks are few & far between and networks can’t support large amounts of data. Apparently, the laser beam system will dramatically increase the data speeds over long distances and coupled with the drone-satellite system will be able to solve these identified problems.

What I can guess is the drones will be connected to the satellites via the invisible laser beams and the drones will be set to revolve around specific areas where there’s communities with no internet access. The drones will have hot-spots where people from the area can be able to access the internet via Internet.org.

Zuckerberg has said this is just one connectivity method they are working on and this means there are probably others they are experimenting upon. Facebook is really serious about maintaining its lead as the biggest social media platform and although the Internet.org initiative seems to be philanthropic, it’s all about registering that huge number of people without Internet access. Google has a similar initiative, Project Loon, where they want to use high altitude balloons to connect people in remote areas who have no Internet access at all.

The battle for the “unplugged” portion of the world’s population is on and in the next several years, the social media expanse will certainly be way bigger than it is right now.