Facebook — the company that revolutionized the idea of being connected 15 years ago — is now focused on bringing more people around the world online to a faster internet. The company, which connects 1.56 billion active users daily to friends, family and community, is building partnerships through Facebook Connectivity to create higher-quality internet connections to empower people around the world to share knowledge and strengthen communities.
Among these initiatives is the Telecom Infra Project, launched in 2016 to bring together operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators and other industry players to rethink how telecom networks are built. The company’s OpenCellular project is tackling the challenge of expanding cellular coverage to less densely populated regions in an economically viable way. And its Terragraph initiative focuses on bringing connectivity to dense urban environments with complicated infrastructure challenges that traditionally have limited bandwidth and access.
Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president of Facebook Connectivity, will explore these connectivity challenges and solutions during a keynote address next week at Connectivity Expo. To preview his address, Rabinovitsj provided insights into Facebook’s connectivity objectives and how the wireless industry can support them, its long-haul fiber buildout and how it can benefit existing and emerging service providers, and its views on new spectrum opportunities like CBRS.
How can the infrastructure community support Facebook’s connectivity initiatives?
We encourage the entire infrastructure community to join us in our effort of bringing more people online at faster speeds. We take a partner-first approach, working with network operators, equipment manufacturers, software developers, system integrators and other partners to introduce new initiatives and develop technologies that help bring people online to a faster internet. We encourage more members of the infrastructure community to join the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), a collaborative group of operators, suppliers, developers, integrators, startups, and other organizations who are creating new approaches to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure. TIP works globally and has project groups developing technology across all areas of the network — including access, backhaul, and core & management.
We also invite the infrastructure community to work with us on the technologies and programs we’re developing as part of Facebook Connectivity, including, Terragraph, Magma and Express Wi-Fi. You can learn more about these and other programs on our website.
In North America, what are your priorities and objectives with connectivity?
In several regions including Malaysia, Hungary and North America, we’re currently working with a number of partners to trial Terragraph, a complete solution for unlicensed mmWave gigabit wireless access and mesh backhaul. Terragraph’s first main use case is for fixed wireless access. In Canton, Ohio (with Agile Networks and RADWIN), Terragraph is enabling providers to deliver smart city services and faster fixed broadband. In Alameda, California (with Common Networks), Terragraph is delivering high-speed gigabit wireless connectivity at lower costs and faster deployment times than traditional fiber deployments. We’re also working with YTL Communications in Malaysia and Deutsche Telekom in Hungary on Trials of Terragraph. Over time, we hope to see Terragraph deployed with more partners and in more communities, both in North America and beyond.
In North America, we’re also working to strengthen the long-haul fiber networks that connect our data centers, starting in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. In these states, we’re investing in new fiber to allow direct connectivity between our data centers. We intend to allow third parties — including local and regional providers — to purchase excess capacity on our fiber. This capacity could provide additional network infrastructure to existing and emerging providers, helping them extend service to many parts of the country, and particularly in underserved rural areas near our long-haul fiber builds. Unlike a retail telecommunications provider, we will not be providing services directly to consumers.
Does Facebook see CBRS as method for reaching people with faster, more reliable internet?
We see a lot of potential for CBRS spectrum to expand access to fast and reliable internet service. We’re currently exploring ways of partnering with the industry around CBRS and are excited to see the momentum building behind this area. We also see opportunity for shared spectrum to become a meaningful means to bring more capacity to networks globally and look to the U.S. to set an example that can be followed by other telecommunications regulators in emerging and developed markets.
Don’t miss Rabinovitsj’s keynote address at Connectivity Expo on Wednesday, May 22. Rabinovitsj joins distinguished business and industry leaders scheduled to deliver keynotes at the show, including Microsoft’s Shelley McKinley, Verizon’s Adam Koeppe and T-Mobile’s Neville Ray.
Visit www.connectivityexpo.com for the full list of speakers, keynotes, exhibitors and sessions.
Dan Rabinovitsj has 30 years’ experience in communications and networking and a passion for connecting people and building great products and disrupting markets. Dan has served in executive leadership roles in Silicon Labs, NXP, Atheros, Qualcomm and Ruckus Networks. Dan joined Facebook in August 2018 to lead Facebook Connectivity, a team focused on bringing more people online at faster speeds. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Also published on Medium.