Facebook Aims to Connect the World
A new whitepaper by Facebook, Qualcomm and Ericsson has set out a “blueprint” for scaling the net enough to give more people the opportunity to connect to the internet. In order to achieve this, the paper suggests that we should be building more efficient apps.
A Focus on Efficiency says that at the moment, the cost of data delivery is a huge 100 times more expensive than it should be in order to make it “economically feasible”. This means that in order to address it, the cost of delivering data has to be driven down and this can be achieved by building efficient apps and reducing the underlying costs.
To do this, and help 5 billion people get online, Facebook says that everyone should build data centres like the ones the social network use. These should make the most of sustainability options and it’s also suggested that more companies use networks more wisely.
Reduce use of unnecessary bandwidth
This means using smaller files such as images on websites in order to reduce bandwidth. The rising trend of responsive web design has meant that many sites are now slower to load because they deliver the full desktop content model to all devices, even mobiles.
Whilst much of this content won’t actually be visible on mobile and tablets, it still loads and this can reduce the speed of the site, prompting people to leave quickly, whilst guzzling bandwidth unnecessarily. A recent Moz study found that this is immaterial in terms of straightforward SEO, as it doesn’t make up any part of Google’s measurements. However, the study found that it was the TTFB (Time to First Byte) metric that Google use when judging a site’s speed.
This means that often, the time a site takes to load is down to database sizes and other things that take place at the site’s back, rather than front, end. In other words, it’s down to how fast the web server responds, rather than how quickly a document loads.
According to The Register, Facebook has made its own contribution to this by adopting the WebP Image format, which produces smaller files and in turn take up less bandwidth. Companies with responsive sites can also do this by asking their designer to tweak the site for performance. This is something that is recommended anyway, as it’s well documented that slow sites tend to affect sales, especially with regard to mobile.
The world online
The paper says that the industry must make an improvement of 10 times in order to be able to make free basic internet services available globally to everyone that has a phone. This means that the various sectors of the technology industry must work together to make this a reality.
This will enable the industry to
“drive efficiency gains across platforms, devices, and operating systems. By creating more efficient technologies, we will be able to speed up the roll out of more sophisticated technologies that provide higher quality experiences to more people in developing countries.”
Facebook, Qualcomm and Ericsson are just some of the founding members of internet.org, which is a global organisation that aims to get people from all around the world online affordably.
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