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Facebook, Intel and carriers team up to rethink telecom networks

The Telecom Infra Project aims to make data cheaper, faster and more accessible.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
February 23, 2016
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Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook set out to create a better home for your data with the Open Compute Project, but that's only part of the problem -- without good telecom networks, you can't get that data. That's where the company's new Telecom Infra Project aims to help. The partnership with 30 companies (including Intel, Nokia and multiple carriers) hopes to improve the cost, speed and reach of networks through open, collaborative designs. Ideally, you'll see technologies like 5G arrive faster, and data service in rural areas where it would normally be impractical.

The project is still in its infancy, but early experiments are promising: Facebook teamed up with Globe to bring cellular access to a Philippines village, and the UK's EE is testing a community-run 4G network that should connect more of the Scottish Highlands. It's an optimistic initiative, and Facebook certainly has a vested interest in getting it off the ground (better telecoms mean more Facebook users). All the same, it could easily be worthwhile if it gets more people online.

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