Why Facebook Insists on Bringing Internet to Everyone and Who and What Is What Prevents

Although it may seem us, internet is still fails everywhere as usual (or good) and there are many areas in which it is quite complicated to access. Something that large companies in the sector know, like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, and long since carried out initiatives to bring the connection to these areas. But it is beyond philanthropy the interest to reach even more millions of users and the cost that can be.

Yesterday Facebook took one step further with OpenCell, the last of several technologies to expand the network. Something that comes after other projects such as drones or Free Basics, even days of awareness in its California employees. The river sounds much for years, so much water must carry, give a review to this particular mission of Zuckerberg and its possible objectives.

The “.org” it started everything

In 2013, when Google had already invested large sums in its peculiar initiative Project Loon, Facebook counterattacked in a way by making public a couple, although with quite different performance intention: Internet.org. According to the press release in that time only a third of the world’s population had access to the internet (2,700 million), having a rather discrete annual adoption (9%) rate. Hence the ambitious goal of the project: that the remaining two thirds have internet.

Both Facebook and other companies seeking to participate in a transformation of the society guaranteeing the access to the network

A project that was not alone, but it looked pretty powerful allies of the sector as Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera, Qualcomm and even an ambitious Nokia even under the reins of Elop. Both the alma mater of the initiative and the rest of the collaborators emphasized the same: participate in a transformation of the society guaranteeing the access to the network, some of which was declared a human right by the United Nations.

What was not mentioned was the potential that had the fact to 5,000 million people who had neither access internet or that or (in many cases would know) what it meant to be the same in practice. Triple internet connections could mean to multiply access to social network, that at the moment as we read in Venture Beat was a user of every seven people. And that are many more clicks that can fall into ads or any another attractive point of the Facebook website.

Change of name, change of format and the first accusing fingers

As well, since Facebook moved its project countries in Africa, South America and Asia were added. In a first phase that culminated in September 2015 (now we will see why and how), these were the adhesions in chronological order:

  • Zambia (July, 2014)
  • Tanzania (October 2014)
  • Kenya (November 2014)
  • Colombia and Ghana (January 2015)
  • India (February 2015)
  • The Philippines and Guatemala (March, 2015)
  • Indonesia (April 2015)
  • Banghaldesh, Malawi and Pakistan (may, 2015)
  • Senegal and Bolivia (June 2015)
  • South Africa (July 2015)

Until that time Internet.org wore the connection to these places and facilitated the development of projects related to this, but how to proceed did they set re-latch after alarms go against net neutrality. Reason: it was not a free access to the entire network, but only to certain pages.

Alarms that did not meet the neutrality of the network began in the India

The trigger was the arrival in the India, where after initiating the service already complained that the practice was not clean in this regard. Both local media and authorities gave the voice of alarm a few months started arguing that rather than a charitable proposal was a way to channel visits to websites of interest to the company of Zuckerberg.

Despite this, the initiative followed existing both in this and in other countries, and a few months later (in September of 2015), Internet.org shifted to Free Basics and app format. The Foundation? The same, getting the network in good condition where there or even arrives, but complementing the web with an own app. A change of masks for the same basis and the same mechanism of action: free access to certain websites, although that is not specified in the statement.

Thus, despite the accusations of violating the neutrality of the network, the renowned project It continued to expand horizons to Egypt (October, 2015), Iraq (December of 2015), Nigeria (may 2016), Madagascar (June 2016) and Myanmar (the same month). A few adhesions that from 2015 were always with agreements with operators like AirTel or VIVA, which salpimentaba the non-neutrality of access charges for joint interests.

Not only software live internet

It of no use to provide access to the internet if this fails for physical reasons, i.e. infrastructure. A need that would solve Google with the project that we mentioned before and that Facebook is also intended to supplement, but not balloons. To Zuckerberg seemed better idea create drones to get connection: a few entertaining flying with the same measure of wing to wing a Boeing 737 and communication via laser.

The idea is that at the end of this year to begin testing of what will be the entire system, i.e., a station to transmit a radio signal to the drone (which would transmit it to others by laser), Finally making it wifi or 4G. An ambitious project whose seed we saw made reality (L’Aquila, the first of 10,000 drones who plan to have, according to Wired), though still not to speak of what prices or what speed would have that connection.

Something simpler is OpenCell, which we mentioned at the beginning to have been the last thing the company has presented within its intention to get connection anywhere in the world. Is a project open source hardware and software whose point is that It is much more economical than the traditional wireless network infrastructure using modular radio devices, which provide 2G, 3G or 4G connection as well as local networks.

Devices designed so that, in addition to being cheap, resistant to extreme weather conditions such as high temperatures and powerful winds. In this way, the idea is again the connection to reach sites that due to lack of investment or by difficulties of installation do not have even network antennas, such as rural and inaccessible areas.

Not just the intention when we talk about business: potholes in land and air

For Zuckerberg all this was not just a philanthropic work or a business initiative, but that was his legacy

As we read in Wired, to Mark Zuckerberg all this it was not just a philanthropic work or a business initiative to bring internet to the world was the work of his life and his legacy, something by which to be remembered. Despite the beneficial background of its initiatives is complicated that many generations remember you this and not for social change which meant that University project his, but the fact is that anything can to remember are the obstacles and conditions of their initiatives.

We have started it to mention before referring to accusations by going against the net neutrality. Actions that they came initially from India and that in fact until the year of service in the country might be fulfilled, the regulatory authority of India Telecom (TRAI) requesting the cancellation of the service, making it a couple of months later (in February 2016).

After India, Egypt also blocked Facebook Basics

Anything it served that Zuckerberg specified the websites that were not from Facebook that could be accessed (like the Wikipedia, educational websites on HIV or to find work), or who insist on that not couldn’t speak of neutrality of the network when there were so many people without access. India carried out cancellation already end of 2015 Egypt did the same, after two months of operation and something less specific on the motives, arguing publicly that they had not renewed permits and other bureaucratic reasons but in practice with the same motivation to India.

The problem of failure to comply with provisions for the neutrality of the network, joins the reluctance the unknown. If in our context we find people who resign to have a smartphone (some even mobile phone), is not strange that in those locations where for not coming even internet this is indeed as far away to a custom (as it is for a country with more resources). In these cases Add to the mission get the create a need, that to make it profitable not only should be relative to the connection itself, but to the social network.

In fact Jessi Hempel explains it personally in the Wired article that you enlazábamos before: “for internet a change, people need to want to connect in the first place”. This preceded the anecdote that in a town in South Africa, After a year with internet access an inhabitant completely unaware it, in the same way that didn’t even know that able to connect from your mobile phone.

Drones not escape latches. Here in fact there certain barriers in terms of regulation both drones of Facebook and Google balloons have to pass through, and in fact, it sounds surprising, both companies allied to confront the bureaucracy that this entails. First thing: achieving the Federal Aviation Administration permission for the test flights, and subsequently there is a spectrum of specific radio for drones (thing that depends on the International Telecommunication Union).

The value of the users

Both the UN Declaration and these initiatives have a first purpose very noble and fair: that everyone is equal before the access to the internet. But this doesn’t mean that there is a substantial particular purpose for the company in addition.

Both Asia and Africa, as some nations of South America are a virgin territory in connection which translates, as we have seen, in million potential users. When we refer to internet services and revenues from users, talk about average revenue generated by each (Average revenue per user, ARPU), let’s see how’re going you to the Empire of Zuckerberg.

As we read in Market Realist, the ARPU of Facebook increased 33% with respect to the value that was in early 2015, reaching 3.32 dollars in the first quarter of 2016, according to the firm thanks to a rise in prices and a greater attraction of them across the network. The value of the ARPU was lower in Asia (1.56 dollars) in United States and Canada (12,43 dollars), but according to Facebook the number of users grows more in countries where this value is less.

In fact the number of users in Asia grew 20% from one year to another While the rest of the world grew by 15%. The MAU (monthly active users), another parameter that is often used to measure activity on social networks were currently 1,700 million, 566 of whom belonged to the Asia-Pacific region.

Curiously, the most important country-wide community of users in Asia is the India with 142 million users. For this reason the blockade of their service is a strong enough blow, taking into account also that it is a mostly rural population, which translates into hundreds of millions of potential customers (the total population of the India is approximately 1,250 million and is estimated to be 70% rural population).

A difficult legacy

By the increase of income which would almost global access, Internet or by the business (or personal) interest of famous CEO case is that you despite the problems Facebook is devising projects to ensure that those two-thirds of the world’s population are equal-level connection as the third that for years has internet on a regular basis. Something which, as mentioned, has in common with Google and Microsoft, both with projects with the same intention (although different to proceed).

It is see if he finally defeats the idea of “better little than anything”

In the air, as well as drones and balloons, is see if despite not comply strictly the principles of network neutrality, finally defeats the idea of “better little than anything”, and even with conditions dubiously Free Basics fair initiative continues to expand terrendo and reaching more countries. According to Zuckerberg there is no violation and for the end of his initiative and the principle of reality must go hand in hand:

These two principles (universal connectivity and the neutrality of the network) can and should be coeixistir.

At the moment this coexistence as we see is not all possible and this mission between altruistic and lucrative It can be that it is costing more than expected, not only economically but legal and bureaucratic level. We will see in a few years if Zuckerberg manages to be remembered as the hero of the global internet as a hustler business man.