We are all well aware of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s big plan for connecting the world. he made it pretty evident with the launch of its Free Basics program, and no hurdles or roadboloacks could deter his plan. Not even the fact that critics are not lending this program any support and few countries like India even went to the extent of banning Free Basics; TRAI announced the ban in February this year. And now, Facebook has announced OpenCellular, which is an open source and cost-effective, software-defined wireless access platform aimed to improve connectivity in remote areas of the world.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of this platform on its Facebook page and described what it stands for in his Facebook post:
“On our journey to connect the world, today we announced OpenCellular — an open source wireless access platform to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world. More than 4 billion people still don’t have basic internet access, and one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to reach remote areas existing infrastructure doesn’t cover.”
“We designed OpenCellular as an open system so anyone — from telecom operators to researchers to entrepreneurs — can build and operate wireless networks in remote places. It’s about the size of a shoe box and can support up to 1,500 people from as far as 10 kilometers away. Along with our solar-powered aircraft Aquila and high-bandwidth laser beams, OpenCellular is the next step on our journey to provide better, more affordable connectivity to bring the world closer together.”
Interesting initiative Mark; this sure looks like one of your plans to ramp up the Free Basics program. With more and more wireless access platforms around the world, you could sure connect billions of people out there. However, the big question is: Will OpenCellular receive critics support worldwide?
It may or may not but if Facebook succeeds, then sure this would be a stepping stone for connecting billions and millions of people through the power of Internet.
What’s the deal with OpenCellular?
One of the biggest hindrance for improving connectivity is the expensive cellular infrastructure, and Facebook is aiming to solve this problem with OpenCellular. Facebook has already built this platform and is already testing it in its labs at Facebook HQ, where employees are using it to send and receive SMS messages, make voice calls and more.
Facebook is already working with OEM and ODM partners to make the OpenCellular platform widely available. One must note, this is the just the first reference design of the platform and Facebook will keep iterating it basis the feedback and ideas it will receive from the community members. The idea would be to give the best platform for enabling access in a low-cost, efficient manner.