When Facebook and Microsoft build undersea broadband cable to Europe – what does that mean to equitable access?

The Guardian reports…

Facebook and <spanMicrosoft are going underwater.

The two technology companies announced on Thursday they are to install an undersea cable from the east coast of the US to Spain to help speed up their global internet services.

Fast connectivity is particularly important to Facebook, which wants to encourage users across the world to broadcast live video and meet in virtual reality. Both activities can consume vast amounts of bandwidth.

It’s cool that they’re going underwater – but at least a dozen such cables already exist. The fact of note is the absolute privatization of the cable. I don’t know what that will mean for future “channels” of the Internet or Net Neutrality. It clearly speaks to the expected need for broadband in the future. Minnesota is now aiming at 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up by 2022. Facebook and Microsoft are building a private cable.

Also worth nothing is the other disruptions technologies and technology-focused or fueled businesses name in the article…

The project marks yet another example where technology companies are assuming roles traditionally left to public utilities or the government, and until now undersea cables have traditionally been laid by telecommunications incumbents. Meanwhile, Google continues to expand Fiber, its high-speed internet program, Amazon.com effectively is building its own postal service, Uber is attempting to replace regulated cab companies and Facebook is bringing wireless internet to Africa.

Finally in a moment of “criminy I’ve turned into my grandpa” … The network is being built by a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefónica. I lived in rural Spain 20 years ago. We couldn’t get a phone in the apartment because of capacity issues. I taught English. I lived in a nice place in a nice neighborhood – and there wasn’t capacity for a new phone. Now they’re building a private cable to the US. Wow!

This entry was posted in Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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