Since we launched Internet.org, it’s been our mission to find ways to provide internet connectivity to the more than 4 billion people who are not yet online. Many of these people live within range of at least a 3G wireless signal, and our work in the last year with mobile operators across 17 countries has provided more than a billion people with access to relevant basic internet services. But 10 percent of the world’s population lives in remote locations with no internet infrastructure, and the kinds of infrastructure technologies used everywhere else — things like fiber-optic cable, microwave repeaters and cell towers — may be a challenge to deploy cost-effectively in these regions.
That’s where the Connectivity Lab comes in. Our goal is to accelerate the development of a new set of technologies that can drastically change the economics of deploying internet infrastructure. We are exploring a number of different approaches to this challenge, including aircraft, satellites and terrestrial solutions. Our intention is not to build networks and then operate them ourselves, but rather to quickly advance the state of these technologies to the point that they become viable solutions for operators and other partners to deploy.