By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
Few days ago Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced what I can personally call the most revolutionary and ambitious move ever this digital age will ever witness.
Last year Facebook and other tech companies launched a global project aptly dubbed the “Internet.org” and currently now at advanced stage. This is a global partnership to make the internet available to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it.
Probably according to the developed world, when they say two thirds who do not have the internet they are basically talking about countries like us with close to 40% internet penetration where basically we are not always connected neither are we connected at very affordable costs and they envision to make the internet a basic need not a privilege.
Ofcourse before i delve into details, it is not a secret that companies behind the internet.org have ulterior motives, they have other big interests but not subtle, at least yet.
Besides my scepticism, I love to keep my mind on the bigger picture.Free Internet aceess may soon be available for African, Asian, and etc for absolutely free using a drone technology which the internet.org team is currently developing.
How will this work
Well, there has been intense research already going which may deliver the internet at much faster speeds than the fibre optics. Yes internet faster than fibre optics while it’s purely wireless and driven through the space with a combination of satellites. lasers and drones passing the signals from drones hanging 20km up in the sky.
Internet.org states that “the team is looking at Free-space optical communication, or FSO, which is a way of using light to transmit data through space using invisible, infrared laser beams. FSO is a promising technology that potentially allows us to dramatically boost the speed of internet connections provided by satellites and drones.”
Is this attainable?
According to the internet.org, to make these platforms a reality they have recently added some of the world’s top experts on aerospace technology including the team from Ascenta, a UK-based company with a deep expertise in designing and building high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft.
The five-member Ascenta team has combined more than 100 years of experience in the aerospace industry including leadership positions with QinetiQ, Boeing, Honeywell and the Harris Corporation. They have worked on noteworthy projects like the Breitling Orbiter and early versions of Zephyr, which became the world’s longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.
We believe connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and that everyone deserves access to the knowledge, tools and opportunities that come from being connected.
The future looks bright
Facebook’s Connectivity Lab which will work on theInternet.org project. It’s powered by talent acqhired from solar-powered drone maker Ascenta as well as poached from NASA.
Internet.org, is a partnership between Facebook and telecom industry giants like Nokia and Qualcomm, they envision to bring fast internet speeds to 5 billion people who currently lack it and this includes most African.
The Flip Side:
This is the worst news ever for Zimbabwe`s telcos. If the internet.org project is anything to go by then its definitely good bye to both our mobile network operator and fixed too. This will render them useless.It does not make any business sense to compete with a company selling broadband for free.
The move will likely be challenged in local courts or face national security resistance or ban since it has lots of open ended parts unless the government has a share or say in the project because chances are high it would seem too risky to allow the connectivity lab crew to run a virtual ISP and IAP of any country.
Without even trying to divert to whether the drones would use licenced spectrum or it may not need to be regulated, lets focus on the interesting times ahead of us as technology is certainly about to change the way we live.
Im sure giant companies behind the internet.org have a fool proof plan to see this vision of open connectivity become a reality in the earliest time possible.
Watch more on that here