To paraphrase a recent statement by Mark Zuckerberg, the first billion users wasn’t too difficult to sign up, but the next billion will present a huge challenge. Zuckerberg is clearly aware that a good deal of this difficulty is the fact that there remain billions of people on the planet that don’t have regular access to the Internet.
Facebook and others call to ramp up the Internet
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and fellow internet.org members QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) released a white paper today that calls for a large-scale ramping up of the Internet. Titled, “A Focus on Efficiency” and available here as a PDF, the paper outlines the troubles with plans to connect the 5 billion people who are presently not connected, and the difficulties in doing so. It says, “the current global cost of delivering data is on the order of 100 times too expensive for this to be economically feasible.”
The paper outlines how this can be fixed by reducing the “underlying costs of delivering data” and how data use can be reduced “by building more efficient apps.”
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Facebook suggests building data centers
The paper suggests that in order to overcome the first challenge, companies that build data centers will need to emulate Facebook by using outside air for cooling, adopting the tenets of the Open Compute project and adopting projects like the “Group Hug” modular servers plan.
The paper also calls for smarter use of existing networks and points to Facebook’s adoption of the WebP image format that it uses in order to save storage space. That storage savings means less bandwidth is being used, freeing it up for new Internet users.
The paper is quite self-serving at times and focuses on how Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) works to build better client applications, especially on Android.
The paper also discusses battery life issues
The paper then meanders towards Facebook’s other accomplishments, such as its fight against battery life issues:
The high cost of waking a phone’s radio to fetch data comes from network inactivity timers on the device. These timers keep the radio in high energy state for fixed period of time regardless of the size of data packets to be transferred. Also, these timers vary by network operators. Thus, the same phone can have very different impact on battery performance across different network operators. Consequently, it is critical to wake the radio as seldom as possible and send as much network traffic each time as possible, while maintaining the feeling of freshness and recency in the UI. One way we’ve tackled this is by pre-fetching multiple images at a time that your friends have posted instead of waking up the radio separately for each image fetch.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is not the only one that touts itself through the paper, which ends with marketing messages from Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM).