It might seem to us that the Internet has exploded in popularity over the last few years, but about 60 percent of the world’s population still doesn’t have Internet access. Facebook boasts more than a billion users worldwide, and it’s looking to expand business to the people who don’t have ready access to the Web.
The social media giant recently announced plans to bring Internet access to developing countries where citizens have a hard time getting online. Facebook just formed a new branch called Connectivity Lab: The entity is working on testing technology that uses drones, lasers, and satellites to expand the reach of the Internet.
It plans on being able to reach the most desolate and remote locations in just a few years.
Pioneering new technology to lower Internet barriers
Facebook has worked with companies on projects like this in the past. Last year, the company created Internet.org; it’s a coalition of major tech companies that work on fighting poverty by bringing Internet access to new regions of the world. As of today, their efforts have connected about three million new users.
Facebook’s newest plan focuses on developing new and experimental technology. The company is working on drones that can stay active for months at a time.
While they’re active, the drones can beam the Internet to users in the suburbs. In rural areas, Facebook plans on using satellites to carry out the same task.
The devices will use infrared laser beams to transfer data over long distances. Currently, Facebook is working with aerospace experts from NASA on their new equipment designs.
Is Internet access more vital than fighting poverty?
Facebook says it’s working on these technologies to bring the Internet to developing countries that can’t support the infrastructure. Doubters believe the company is just trying to infiltrate a large market before other companies do.
In many areas of the world, hundreds of thousands get sick and die of poverty. People don’t have access to clean water, food, electricity, or modern medicine. Facebook critics want to see the company use its massive resources to fight poverty; they say Internet access is not a pressing issue.
Perhaps surprisingly, humanitarian organizations have sided with Facebook. They believe that more access will improve their own ability to help people in need.
When humanitarian organizations have Internet access, they can properly plan and carry out their charitable missions. It will be easier to set up clinics and health care stations in far-flung regions when you have access to the software and technology you need.
Is Internet access a basic human right?
Developed countries have unfettered access to the Internet, which allows users to voice their opinions and ideas. In 2011, the United Nations decided that the Internet was a basic human right.
For now, Facebook is concentrating on bringing the Internet to the people who need it the most. The company believes that people from all socioeconomic classes benefit from unrestricted access to fast Internet connections.
Facebook is currently running into challenges trying to deliver web access to certain geographical areas, but the company believes it can develop the technology to supply the world with cheap, fast, and effective Internet access.