Viasat and Facebook team up to bring the internet to rural Mexico
Social media giant Facebook has kickstarted a couple of initiatives over the years to get cheap-or-free WiFi in the hands of underserved populations in rural communities around the world. But, for one reason or another, none of these initiatives have been the success story the company hoped for. Now, it’s working alongside an expert in the field: Viasat, a company that uses satellites to create WiFi hotspots anywhere in the world. The partnership will see Facebook help identify unconnected and poorly connected communities in Mexico that could benefit from Viasat’s Community Wifi service, letting it accelerate in the country.
Facebook and Viasat have both seen their share prices soar in 2019 so far
Source: Yahoo Finance
Despite the internet’s incredible proliferation around the world, there are still billions of people who do not have access to it. The reasons for this vary, but a major consideration is cost and accessibility. According to Viasat “traditional internet service providers rely on more densely populated areas to get as many customers as possible on their network, and more remote communities don’t typically fit into that model.” The company is committed to servicing these communities with its Community WiFi service, which uses a satellite (ViaSat-2) to bring WiFi within reach of more than one million previously underserved Mexicans.
Facebook has been a vocal proponent of enabling rural communities to access the internet. Partly, that’s because its revenue stream depends on gaining as many users as possible – but it’s also because Facebook employees (including founder Mark Zuckerberg) hold an opinion that is becoming commonplace in Silicon Valley: that access to the internet constitutes a basic human right.
Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president of Facebook Connectivity, said: “Facebook is committed to working with industry partners around the world to help bring more people online to a faster internet. Viasat’s rapidly growing Community Wi-Fi hotspot service is an example of a model that can help overcome the global connectivity challenges of accessibility and affordability, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas.” Mark Dankberg, Viasat’s chairman and CEO, added: “Enabling the next four billion internet users to come online is one of the grand challenges of our time – and participating in that is also one of the most exciting and rewarding opportunities of the mobile internet era.”
Dominion holds Viasat in its Global Trends Managed Fund, and Facebook in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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