Facebook has a new plan to get more of Africa online: Fiber optic cables.
The social giant on Monday announced plans to lay nearly 500 miles of fiber cable in Uganda by the end of the year, infrastructure that Facebook believes will provide internet access for more than three million people.
Facebook is not, however, providing its own wireless network. The company is partnering with Airtel and BCS to provide the actual internet service, and says the fiber will offer more support for “mobile operators’ base stations.” The company also says that it’s “open” to working with other network providers down the line.
All three organizations are making some kind of financial commitment to the project, according to a person familiar with the deal, though it’s unclear who is paying for what.
The move to dig up ground and lay physical fiber cables is the latest in a string of efforts Facebook has made over the past two years to get more people online. Facebook’s mission is to connect everyone in the world with its social network, but that’s hard to do if significant portions of the world don’t have internet access.
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