Facebook Launches Telecom Infra Project To Reimagine Tech Future

Facebook is inviting the world’s engineering and technology leaders to help reimagine the telecommunications business.

With the formation of a Telecom Infra Project, the social giant hopesto enlist a critical mass of operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies in the effort.

“Scaling traditional telecom infrastructure to meet this global data challenge is not moving as fast as people need it to,” Jay Parikh, gobal head of engineering and infrastructure, notes in a new blog post. “We know there isn’t a single solution for this, and no one company can tackle the problem alone.

At the moment, Telecom Infra Project -- or TIP -- members include Intel, Nokia, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom.

According to Parikh, TIP is an open-source initiative. “TIP members will work together to contribute designs in three areas -- access, backhaul, and core and management,” he explains. “In what is a traditionally closed system, component pieces will be unbundled, affording operators more flexibility in building networks.”



The effort is intended to accelerate the development of technologies like 5G, which would allow for better connectivity around the world.

As its domestic growth continues to slow, Facebook has good reason to want more connected consumers -- and higher connection speeds -- worldwide. 

This is not Facebook’s first attempt to shape the telecommunications business.

Late last year, the company moved ahead with plans to launch a satellite to bring Web access to under-served regions of the globe. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the long-rumored project himself, and positioned it as part of his larger “Internet.org” initiative.

Internet.org -- which is referred to as Free Basics in some regions -- has recently suffered several setbacks. Most recently, as part of a ruling in favor of Net neutrality, Indian telecom regulators decided to block Free Basics from the country.

At the end of 2015, Egyptian authorities also pulled the plug on the free Internet service for reasons that they never fully articulated.

Key to Facebook’s long-term strategy, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly defended the Free Basics program.

In a letter published in the Times of India, last December, Zuckerberg wrote: “If we accept that everyone deserves access to the Internet, then we must surely support free basic Internet services.”

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