Fb Outlines Advances in Connectivity, because it Works to Join the Subsequent Billion Customers
Although Facebook is reaching ubiquitous levels in many regions, Facebook is adding more users every quarter, which is pretty amazing considering the app has been around for 17 years now.
However, there is an important trend to watch out for. As you can see in the above DAU chart from Facebook’s most recent earnings report, usage of the platform in the US and Europe has been relatively stagnant for some time. The vast majority of Facebook’s growth is now coming from developing regions like India and Indonesia, and often from people who go online for the first time. Although the western nations have already incorporated social media into our daily lives, Facebook is still a new thing to billions of others, and it is still adapting to maximize its attractiveness to these users in various ways.
The more new users Facebook can add, the more it can use the knowledge gained in other regions to solidify its platform and reach a larger part of more societies and economies.
Which comes with its own concerns, of course – but given the growth focus of both Facebook and its shareholders, it makes sense for the company to invest in new ways to reach more people that also offer more connectivity and potential in other ways, outside of it the platform itself.
That’s why the latest projects from Facebook’s Connectivity group are so interesting. As part of its recent “Inside the Lab” event, Facebook Connectivity outlined three specific projects it is using to connect more regions and enable more Facebook usage around the world.
The first element is the investment in subsea cabling, with Facebook investing $ 1 billion in the 2Africa project, which will be completed upon completion be that longest submarine cable system in the world connecting Africa, Europe and Asia.
As you can see in this diagram, the 2Africa wiring project has recently been expanded to include Include India, Pakistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the project and thus improve the connection to other regions.
The entire project is a jointly funded initiative with the main focus on connecting more African regions to fast and reliable internet.
And when that happens, it will provide Facebook with new avenues to reach whole new communities where it can also showcase its evolving e-commerce and business connection tools to increase its utility.
This is really where Facebook can win. By tapping into these regions, often before other social media providers have a chance to promote their apps or focus on growth, Facebook can then become an integral part of the web experience, with its infrastructure laying the groundwork for new ones digital economies forms and expands the potential of the company in every nation.
And while partial funding of such projects doesn’t necessarily guarantee wider adoption of Facebook in these new areas, given its popularity in all other countries, it’s pretty safe to assume that Facebook will catch on – and see it continue to do so Adds millions and possibly billions more users, making it easier for business to grow.
Facebook’s second major connectivity project in focus is a new cabling robot called ‘Bombyx’ that can move along power lines and Wrap them with fiber optic cable.
This can save significant time, effort, and cost by making it easier to connect to many regions, leveraging existing infrastructure to maximize Internet cabling, and bringing more remote regions online.
Finally, Facebook is also developing its Terragraph technology, which enables wireless connectivity at fiber optic speed over the air.
Facebook has been working on Terragraph for years, and while some of its other wireless connectivity initiatives fell short (like its Aquila drone project), this one shows a significant promise:
“[Terragraph] has provided high-speed internet to more than 6,500 homes in Anchorage, Alaska, and deployment has also begun in Perth, Australia, one of the world’s most remote capital cities. “
From a broader perspective, Facebook’s connectivity initiatives serve a greater purpose in connecting the world to the internet, which democratizes information, and become even more important as we move into the next digital age. At the same time, the direct advantages for Facebook are obvious, because over time, more and more users will be able to use even more Facebook tools, including Instagram and soon also AR glasses.
As mentioned earlier, it also gives Facebook a first mover advantage in many regions, which helps to further expand its user base.
Of course, you have a specific market focus for most advertisers, so Facebook’s global expansion won’t mean much. But for Facebook’s broader business, enabling entirely new advertising ecosystems and business tools is an important element that will help the platform counter the slowdown in growth in its core markets and become a more important tool for even more people.
More information on Facebook’s connectivity projects can be found here.