- Facebook has launched the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to develop and deploy ultrafast 5G wireless networks.
- Inspired by Facebook's open source Open Compute Project (OCP), the TIP includes Intel, Nokia, and other top players.
- Facebook wants to enable the wireless telecom industry to carry its own future data traffic with high-bandwidth streaming video and VR.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has launched the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), an initiative to bring operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and technology companies together to develop new technologies and reimagine traditional approaches to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure.
The prestigious MIT Technology Review notes that Facebook and its TIP partners are looking to speed up the development and deployment of ultrafast 5G networks by making the designs of wireless networking equipment open source. They hope companies will share information and speed up the rate at which new networks can be built and switched on.
A few years ago, Facebook started re-designing the hardware and software used in its data centers from scratch, and open-sourcing many design elements through the Open Compute Project (OCP). "As this OCP work was happening, we recognized that telecom infrastructure could benefit from the same innovations taking place in the data center," said Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure at Facebook. "It was clear that the raw building blocks of what we were developing for our own infrastructure could be applied to telecom networks with great benefit. That’s why we’ve co-founded the TIP."
The result of Facebook's OCP was a massive acceleration of cheap, efficient networking infrastructure that now counts giant firms from Microsoft to Goldman Sachs as adherents, notes the MIT Technology Review article. TIP could have a similar impact on 5th-Generation (5G) wireless technology, a protocol that could be around 100 times faster than the current 4G wireless telecom standard.
The TIP website has an impressive - and growing - list of technology companies and telecom operators that are joining the project.
"Through TIP, we will collaborate on the development of new technologies and explore new business models that will not only improve people’s lives via better connectivity, but also breathe new life into the telecommunications industry," said Henri Tervonen, Head of Architecture and Technology at Nokia (NYSE:NOK). "TIP’s model of transparency and open architecture can lower the threshold of deploying network infrastructure and is an excellent platform to broaden the ecosystem."
"Connecting the billions of unconnected is a big vision, one that can’t be undertaken by just one company which is why we’re excited to be participating in the TIP," said Lynn Comp, Director of Market Development at Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). "Through the increased efficiency and scalability that will be made possible by TIP, we can reach and improve the lives of people across the globe, bringing everyone into the connected family."
"Our goal is to accelerate sustainable growth of telecommunications infrastructure in underserved areas by bringing the industry together to reimagine how we build new networking solutions," added Comp. "This will enable solutions optimized for remote and urban areas that can reach more people than ever before, laying the path to future network transformations."
In fact, one of the goals of the TIP is to improve connectivity around the world, including rural and developing regions. "In collaboration with Facebook, Globe recently launched an initiative that aims to connect millions of Filipinos based in far-flung and geographically-isolated areas with no cellular coverage," said Ernest Cu, President and CEO of Globe Telecom, a major provider of telecommunications services in the Philippines whose investment in network infrastructure is considered as one of the highest in Asia. "The learnings from the TIP ecosystem will definitely add value to our network deployments in the coming years as we provide basic connectivity services to each and every Filipino."
Other TIP partners include Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom.TIP intends to apply the Open Compute Project open models to accelerate development of 5G technologies that will pave the way for better connectivity and richer services, in both cities and rural areas.
Facebook's real intent is likely to be that of enabling the wireless telecom industry to carry Facebook's own data traffic, which is expected to require more and more bandwidth as the social networking giant starts deploying new technologies such as immersive video and Virtual Reality (VR). "The company's focus is moving to telecommunications as it builds products for live-streaming video and virtual reality, which require fast, high-bandwidth connections," notes Bloomberg Business.
It seems likely that Facebook will continue to attract important players in the wireless telecom industry to the TIP, which - besides making the world a better place - would boost Facebook's services and stock value.