Facebook digs into mobile infrastructure in Uganda

Facebook has announced that it is building a 770-kilometer (500-mile) fiber backhaul network in Uganda, in partnership with India’s Airtel and wholesale provider BCS, carriers that both have networking businesses in the country; and its Telecom Infrastructure Project is leading a call to invest $170 million into telecoms infrastructure startups.

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The world’s biggest chat app company is also making headway on its other efforts to play a bigger role in the infrastructure behind how people connect to the internet through its Telecom Infrastructure Project. Facebook’s own Voyager optical networking transponder is now being deployed and tested by the carriers Telia and Orange in Europe.

The Uganda project which will see “tens of millions of investment” from Facebook to cover access for more than 3 million people . As a backhaul network, the purpose will be to provide more capacity to wireless carriers’ base stations so that they can offer 3G and 4G mobile data services.

Whereas Facebook usage is nearly ubiquitous in regions like North America and Western Europe, in developing markets, especially in places where the infrastructure is lacking for good internet access, it’s less used, and so Facebook’s connectivity efforts are in part a way of creating the right circumstances to attract more business.

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