Even though Facebook is inherently a social network, it is long since it has extended its business outside those borders. The company has announced the creation of the Telecom Infra Project at Mobile World Congress conference which starts in Barcelona today.
This renewed effort is somewhat similar to the Open Compute Project (OCP) kicked off by Facebook five years ago; this time around, the company is more narrowly focused on developing innovative telecommunications networking hardware.
However, this effort is no longer an internal project at Facebook. Just like it did with the Open Compute Project, Facebook is releasing the TIP in partnership with a long list of telcos, including the Deutsche Telekom of Germany, SK Telecom of South Korea, Globe Telecom of the Philippines, to name a few.
Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global director of engineering and infrastructure, explained that the company wants to connect more people to the online as it becomes easier to share data-packed experiences, such as video and virtual reality.
The partnerships are meant to help with tackling this global data challenge as fast as possible. Parikh wrote in a blog post that “there isn’t a sole solution for this, and no single company can tackle the problem alone.”
He added that the initial effort will focus on “access, backhaul, and core/management.” Some participants in the project like Facebook, Nokia, and Intel will be sharing designs, while others (the telco partners) will start using technology based on the designs.
Developing new hardware is one of the ways that could help telcos connect more people while also providing better connections to the users already connected to the Internet.
In spite of what people thought about Facebook’s intentions with Free Basics – the project that offered people in remote areas free calling and messaging through Facebook and other basic Internet services – this new initiative is without a doubt a good investment for the telcos.
With its partnership with French satellite company Eutelsat Communications and its Aquila drone in the making, Facebook is already knee-deep in its efforts of connecting more people to the Internet.
However, the infrastructure used by the telcos to provide their services is significantly different from what Web services traditionally rely upon. Multiple generations of servers, networking equipment and storage benefitted from cutting-edge designs via the OCP.
Other companies except from Facebook have only started experimented with this kind of thing. Even if the TIP won’t do exactly the same thing, its impact around the world could be equally impressive.
Image Source: Zimbio