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New Analytics Coming via Facebook Connectivity

Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team have been in the news a lot lately. With controversies regarding their Russian hackers and their possible influence over the 2016 U.S. presidential election as well as the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media giant seems to be the topic of many conversations over the past few months and years.

Even more recently, however, they've made headlines for another reason: the introduction of Facebook Connectivity. Simply put, it's a brand new initiative that's meant to bridge the gap between reliable, high-speed Internet access and the general public. It consists of many different elements, including:

- Free Basics – a collaboration with local mobile providers and operators to provide access to basic, useful information without data charges.

- High-Altitude Connectivity – an exploration into the use of high-altitude platform stations and satellites that are capable of beaming Internet connectivity into remote communities and regions.

- Terragraph – a platform meant to provide network access to high-density urban areas.

- OpenCellular – an initiative meant to develop new and affordable mobile base station technology to expand network connectivity.

- Rural Access – an open-source platform meant to strengthen connectivity in rural areas.

- Telecom Infra Project – a highly collaborative initiative meant to establish faster wireless networks.

- Various analytic tools – including Advanced Network Planning, meant to bolster future networks and Actionable Insights, meant to disseminate information – like network coverage and bandwidth – with the intent of strengthening network connectivity in the future.

Yael Maguire, vice president of engineering with Facebook Connectivity, was upfront about the challenges facing the new initiative. He was quoted as saying: ''"There's no silver bullet for connecting the world," and: "There isn't going to be a magic technology or business plan or single regulatory policy change that's going to change this. We really believe that it is a wide and diverse set of efforts that's required to do this."''

But this isn't the first time Facebook has taken aim at network infrastructure. Some of the earliest plans date all the way back to mid-2013 – and they've drawn a lot of criticism over their lack of action up until now, including a recent decision to cease development of the Aquila drone.

Maguire commented on that subject, too, by stating: ''"I don't think of it as a retreat. If I wear the 'I'm an engineer' hat and I love to focus on the things that I build, yeah, maybe it's a little disappointing what's happening in the market."''

According to an official statement, Facebook Connectivity's purpose is "to help overcome the global Internet connectivity challenges of accessibility, affordability and awareness – with the hope that one day, everyone will have high-quality Internet access."

It's a bold mission, to say the least – and it will take a concentrated effort from the biggest names in the industry, including Facebook, Intel, IBM, Apple and more – to make it a reality.

To find out more information on Facebook Connectivity, including details on any of their complementary programs or initiatives, please visit their official web portal at {{|}}.


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