In August we wrote about how Facebook is using actual laser beams to bring the Internet to people all over the world using drones. Nope, we weren't kidding! Laser beams and drones are real, and Facebook is doing all sorts of cool things with them, like bringing people in remote parts of the world internet.
Facebook isn't just all talk, either; it was just released this week by CNET that Facebook is partnering with Eutelsat (a satellite company) to beam down the Internet to more than 14 countries across West, East, and Southern Africa sometime mid next year. Mobile phones are apparently the jam in these areas (where are they not, really?), with nine out of 10 people having access to a mobile phone, for those of you concerned with devices being provided for those that will be receiving this laser-beam magic.
In our previous article we posed the question of limited content this free Internet will provide, giving only access to only a specific group of sites - Facebook of course being one of them. Facebook constantly reminds the press that this mission, a part of its Internet.org initiative, is to bring "free, basic" Internet to people all over the world. Hard italics and bold on the words, "free" and "basic."
Facebook has received flack from other companies saying that its favoring of specific sites "violates the concept of net neutrality by favoring certain content. (CNET)" I'm sure this is just a harsh accusation - Facebook would love to provide access to other content - for a price, of course. <InsertWinkFaceEmoji>
What it boils down to, though, is that Facebook's Internet.org initiative is not only active, but it's executing. Sure, there are some asterisks and fine print, but overall it's a positive step in the right direction for areas that are lacking access to the Internet. Don't get me wrong, I'd love for companies to continue to push for full access of the Internet to these remote areas, but it looks like we'll have to take this one step at a time.
Let me know your thoughts on Facebook's Internet.org initiative, and tweet me @lizprugh.