Facebook announced on Monday that it plans to lay around 500 miles of fiber cables in Uganda in order to better improve their wireless internet connectivity.
Facebook will not be providing the wireless network itself, however — the social media giant is partnering with Airtel and BCS to bring the Internet to around 3 million new customers. The fiber cables will also offer “more support for mobile operators’ base stations.”
Facebook has not shared details of the total cost of the project nor expressly outlined which of the three companies is paying for what.
This is the first time that Facebook has decided to lay fiber cables anywhere in the world, but this is not a new concept for other corporations from Silicon Valley. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has started to lay cables in the United States, although those efforts have been marred with layoffs, as the physical excavation of the cables is rather expensive.
In 2015, Facebook tried to build solar power drones to broadcast wireless Internet to people on the ground. The test flight was completed in June of last year, with the drone flying for around 90 minutes before crash-landing. In India, Facebook also tried to make some internet services free (including Facebook itself), but the plan was blocked by the local authorities due to net neutrality concerns.