Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a goal to get everyone in the world connected to the internet, even people in the world's poorest and most remote regions. Currently there are four billion people in the world that do not have access to the internet. Facebook plans on bringing these people internet through an interconnected system of solar-powered drones, which will provide network connection. An important precursor to this is how Facebook has created detailed maps that study population density and its effect on networks, which will help Facebook figure out exactly where and how to launch its drones.
Facebook's bold plan began by simultaneously creating the two main components of the project, the maps and drones. The main article, "Facebook's New Map of World Population Could Help Get Billions Online", makes a valid point that the population maps are integral to the project because without them, the company would not know where the best places are to launch their drones to give the greatest amount of people access. The article also notes how the maps can help Facebook figure out whether Wifi or cellular connection would be better and explains that Facebook plans on connecting the drones to one another and ground support through laser data. One interesting point that the article raises is that Facebook's population maps can prove to be valuable for more than just their project, such as where to place hospitals, transportation networks, and in assisting humanitarian efforts.
However, Facebook has had to deal with some outside pressure that was not mentioned in the article. Google has a similar project called "Project Loon" which will utilize helium balloons to create a network that can bring internet connection to rural and poor countries that lack internet availability, a project that creates competition for Facebook. Facebook has also received much criticism for one of its similar initiatives called "Internet.org", which is also a project to bring the internet to places that lack it. Internet.org has been scrutinized for only providing select services such as Facebook and Wikipedia while not giving access to the web as a whole. This then begs the question as to whether or not Facebook will do something similar with this project. Beyond this lies the challenge of getting people devices that will allow them to use their new network. It's not like there are people sitting in remote places in Africa with MacBooks on hand. If Facebook truly wants to help bring these people internet and connect the world, they need to address these problems.
(Main) Simonite, Tom. "Facebook's New Map of World Population Could Help Get Billions Online." MIT Technology Review. N.p., 20 Feb. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
Statt, Nick. "Facebook Is Using AI to Make Detailed Maps of Where People Live." The Verge. N.p., 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
Hurn, Alex. "Facebook Launches Aquila Solar-powered Drone for Internet Access." The Guardian. N.p., 30 July 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.