Facebook details fibre, “unmanned flying machines” R&D to drive digital access

At AfricaCom this morning, Facebook’s director of product partnerships, Ime Archibong, discussed the internet giant’s current projects and said that internet access is an opportunity for the almost unlimited potential.

“We spoke about today on how to connect traditionally unconnected markets, and that’s entirely based on partnerships, partnerships which are absolutely fundamental to the development of connectivity,” he said.

Beyond, the non-profit collaboration arm of Facebook which focusses on delivering connectivity to underserved communities around the world, Archibong said the OTT firm is investing heavily in R&D for more hardware and infrastructural projects.

“We’ve also got our connectivity labs, which are a bunch of R&D efforts in the lab to try and find the best way of bringing connectivity to populations, like fibre rollouts but also more innovative things like our unmanned flying machines which can beam internet connectivity to certain places,” he said. “We’re a software company, but when we’re talking about reaching truly rural areas, it’s all about the R&D efforts we’re putting into solving these connectivity challenges.”

Archibong concluded with a message of “teach a man to fish” for the AfricaCom audience, saying that companies providing internet access should do just that, then watch the innovation flourish.

“Open up opportunity, give them the tools then get out of the way, because people will surprise you with their genius. Access is opportunity.”

  • Mission Critical Technologies Africa

  • West Africa Com

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