This Shoe-Sized Box From Facebook Will Provide Internet to 1,500 People Within 10 KM

We’ve been hearing of plans by internet giants Facebook and Google about bringing internet connectivity to everyone on Planet Earth. We’ve heard of Project Loon and others, which wanted to use everything from drones to air balloons to bring internet to the remotest regions of this planet.

Today, those plans are one step closer to becoming reality.

Enter OpenCellular – An Open Source Wireless Access Platform

Announced by Mark Zuckerberg earlier today, OpenCellular is a platform for getting internet connectivity to 4 billion people without it.


Its an open-source system, which means that anyone can tinker with it and it’s open to all. Facebook won’t be the one controlling it, which can go a long way in addressing the majority of its critics.

It’s the size of a shoebox and for something so tiny, Zuckerberg has stated that it can support 1,500 people from up to a distance of 10 kilometres!

Given the open nature of the system, the shoe-box-sized gizmo can be used by anyone from telecom companies, researchers, and entrepreneurs. This means its applications won’t be just restricted to enabling internet access for all but also startups who can modify it to offer their services to users.

How Will OpenCellular Work?

Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook will offer internet connectivity to the box-sized hardware via their solar-powered aircraft Aquila. These drones will use high-bandwidth laser beams to connect people with the internet. These boxes can be installed at poles or towers.


Since the system is open, other countries can also use similar aircraft, networking mechanisms or other existing infrastructure such as cellular towers  to offer internet in the most remotest areas. OpenCellular’s strength is in both its range and high bandwidth feature.

There’s no word on how much it will cost and what industry standards will the OpenCellular box support. But we expect Mark to update us all in the days ahead.

Samir is the Head of Entertainment at Lens by ProPakistani. You can reach out to him at samir.ya...

  • one question whether we need special hardware or modem in order to connect with this gateway or the service will be offered as gsm network signal

    • Most likely wifi as its frequency doesn’t require any license to operate.

        • Gsm frequencies requires a license to operate. If the regulating authorities allow it the no problem.

      • wifi devices doest not work for longer ranges, the normal ranges for wifi is around 200 – 300 mtrs

        • They may use 902 MHZ to 928 MHZ band as proposed area can’t be cover through other ISM bands.

    • “OpenCellular is a platform for getting internet connectivity to 4 billion people without it.”

      And we are already using it (internet), so obviously it is not for Pakistan.

  • ””will offer internet connectivity to the box-sized hardware via their solar-powered aircraft”””
    i don’t think it will come to pakistan in a hurry,…

  • So PTA charges 100’s Millions of PKR to Mobile Networks to just gain access to frequency’s but they will allow Facebook for free to offer this service? Seriously?

  • Please do not expect much from it. I will be like internet dot org which was just few websites instead of internet promise Mark had made and later they were forced to change its name to “free basics” just because it was nothing like open internet. So these boxes will also most probably offer nothing more than facebook’s free basics.

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