& cplSiteName &

Facebook Expands Rural Efforts With TIP Team

Kelsey Kusterer Ziser

BARCELONA -- MWC 2018 -- On an increasingly global scale, Facebook and its fellow Telecom Infra Project (TIP) operator partners are taking on the challenge of connecting unserved areas via a number of collaborative efforts. At today's Facebook press conference, Jay Parikh, Head of Engineering and Infrastructure for Facebook, joined five operators on stage to highlight new Telecom Infra Project (TIP) initiatives to connect rural areas in regions such as Africa and Latin America, make upgrades to Facebook's Terragraph technology, expand to the OpenCellular platform and grow its TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centers (TEAC).

"There isn't one solution that can solve connectivity for everyone around the world," said Parikh, offering an overview of the results of recent efforts with TIP partners -- now totaling 500 -- to address such industry challenges as global disparity in network connectivity. Parikh was joined onstage by Alex Choi, Senior VP of Research and Technology Innovation with Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT); Johan Wiberg, Group Technology Officer for Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD); Ruza Sabanovic, CTO of Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN); Emmanuel Lugagne, Senior VP of Orange (NYSE: FTE)Labs Networks; and Juan Carlos Garcia, Director of Technology & Architecture for Telefónica . (See Facebook Highlights Terragraph, Rural Connectivity at MWC.)

(L to R) Jay Parikh, Facebook; Johan Wiberg, Vodafone; Alex Choi, Deutsche Telekom; Ruza Sabanovic, Telenor Group; Emmanuel Lugagne, Orange Labs Networks; and Juan Carlos Garcia, Telefonica.
(L to R) Jay Parikh, Facebook; Johan Wiberg, Vodafone; Alex Choi, Deutsche Telekom; Ruza Sabanovic, Telenor Group; Emmanuel Lugagne, Orange Labs Networks; and Juan Carlos Garcia, Telefonica.

Launched several years ago, Facebook's Terragraph millimeter-wave technology is now undergoing field trials by operator partners – the technology can be deployed in urban environments that require higher bandwidth, said Parikh. Deutsche Telekom's subsidiary Magyar Telekom plans to test Terragraph technology in Budapest while Telenor will trial the technology in Kuala Lumpur.

In addition, Facebook is collaborating with Intel and RADWIN to produce a reference design for a Terragraph certified solution. Deutsche Telekom's Choi said the Terragraph technology could enable a number of future mobile services for autonomous driving and smart city use cases, for example.

Further, Facebook announced a joint trial of its OpenCellular platform in the rural highlands and islands of Scotland with BT, Nokia and Cavium to demonstrate interoperability between the platform and Nokia's community hosted network. Facebook has also collaborated with Intel and Radwin on the reference design for a Terragraph-certified solution.

Parikh noted that OpenCellular -- a low-power base station for rural or underdeveloped areas -- continues to make progress in existing trials. Vodafone is trialing the technology in South Africa and newer TIP member Telenor is conducting tests in Pakistan -- Telenor will also be conducting Terragraph trials in Malaysia. Vodafone's Wiberg says the operator plans to expand to 200 base stations in South Africa and India by Q2.

You're invited to attend Light Reading’s Big Communications Event -- the ONE event that delivers fresh perspective on the rapid transformation of the telecom industry and the road ahead. We'll see you May 14-16 in Austin -- communications service providers get in free!

Telefonica and Facebook are targeting rural communities in Peru to connect 20,000 people, which requires developing a new operating model for rural access, said Parikh. Lessons from addressing the connectivity challenges in Peru will also be applied to future connectivity efforts in Africa, he added.

"When you go to rural, you have to change the operating model, you need to start working with local partners... that can help you in delivering the deployment and operation of networks in that environment," said Telefonica's Garcia about connectivity efforts in Peru. "It's also important to work with regulators and public administration so they can facilitate work with the rural mobile infrastructure operators."

The TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Center (TEAC) program, launched about a year ago, continues to expand as operators carry out their digital transformations -- Orange Labs Networks' Lugagne says the service provider has embarked on its first round with TEAC by collaborating with four selected startups focused on such areas as RAN networks, WiFi management and hardware for data centers.

"They bring agility, new skills -- we are quite excited to launch the second round of TEAC and areas of interest are artificial intelligence, virtualization and automation," said Lugagne.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/6/2018 | 1:59:21 PM
Getting The Rural Dollars
Of course getting some income and profits is the name of the game, but even growing the Facebook brand is worth the investment in the test in rural area around the Southern Hemisphere. But as noted, "When you go to rural, you have to change the operating model, you need to start working with local partners," and that's probably especially important in those countries where one may need local business folks to get their way through local restrictions and political blocks.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Telco Job Prospects Go From Bad to Worse
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2018
Mavenir's Billion-Dollar Blueprint
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 6/18/2018
Larry Ellison Laughed at the Cloud, Now the Cloud Is Laughing Back
Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading, 6/20/2018
5G Transport – Where Do We Start?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 6/21/2018
Animals with Phones
Backing Up Your Work Is Crucial Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed