Facebook is developing a low-cost, open source hardware and software platform for cellular network infrastructure, the company announced in a blog post.
The initial design for what Facebook is calling “OpenCellular” can support 2G, Wi-Fi, and LTE networks, with components that can be deployed by even a single person in remote communities, the company said.
“The hardware was designed with simplicity in mind, to encourage people to deploy their own cellular networks,” according to the post. “Many people might not realize that running their own cellular networks is not only possible but also doesn’t require substantial technical expertise.”
The company has previously announced plans for other technologies to bring Internet access to poor and remote areas, even including orbiting drones beaming laser signals to earth. Another program, called Facebook Free Basics, delivers free Internet access limited to certain websites, though it’s drawn criticism and legal challenges in some countries, most notably India.