Facebook Develops Robot That Can Install Fibre-Optic Cables To Provide Faster, Cheaper Internet

Instead of investing in manpower and heavy equipment, each robot will be capable of installing over a kilometre of fibre in approximately an hour and a half, Facebook said.

India   |   16 July 2020 5:43 AM GMT
Writer : Reethu Ravi | Editor : Prateek Gautam | Creatives : Vijay S Hegde
Facebook Develops Robot That Can Install Fibre-Optic Cables To Provide Faster, Cheaper Internet

Image Credits: The Times Of India

Facebook's engineering division along with ULC Robotics, has developed a robot that can safely deploy a specialised fibre-optic cable on medium-voltage (MV) power lines to dramatically lower the cost of deploying fibre and provide faster internet connection.

As fibre has a bandwidth thousands of times greater than that of any other technology, it is crucial to bringing more people online at faster speeds. However, the cost and complexity of deploying fibre networks have restrained large-scale deployment, Facebook said.

"While there have been tremendous improvements in the strength and size of a fibre strand, as well as the amount of data a strand can carry, there has not yet been a widely applicable solution for reducing the cost of fibre construction," Facebook said.

"If successful, we believe this technology will allow fibre to effectively and sustainably be deployed within a few hundred meters of much of the world's population. We expect to see technology trials of this fibre deployment system next year," it added.

According to Facebook, over 70 per cent of the world's population lives more than 10 km from fibre, another reason why fibre connectivity is expensive and not available globally.

Using the existing infrastructure of electricity delivery at home, Facebook will wind the fibre-optic cable around an existing power-line conductor.

"Since the fibre cable is wound around a supporting conductor, it is not necessary to make a new space on the pole or pull it at a high tension. This obviates the need for expensive, time-consuming make-ready work," it said.

Facebook says that instead of investing in manpower and heavy equipment, each robot will be capable of installing over a kilometre of fibre in approximately an hour and a half.

"To account for the human interaction steps such as setup, loading and unloading the robot, installing transitions, etc., we have been conservatively estimating an overall build speed of 1.5 km to 2 km per robot per day on average," it said.

"We expect the total cost, including, depreciation, and materials, to be between $2 and $3 per metre in developing countries," it added.

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Reethu Ravi

Reethu Ravi

Trainee Digital Journalist

Reethu, a story teller, a person often found between the pages of a book or contemplating the nuances of life.

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Prateek Gautam

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A free soul who believes that it is journalism apart from politics which should stand for the social cause and environment

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Vijay S Hegde

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"I am a creative, artistic and ambitious designer, with a talent for thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative ideas and designs. I graduated with a 1st Class honors degree in Video Editing from MAYA ACADEMY OF ADVANCED CINEMATICS"

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