The telecom industry is welcoming a new member to its ranks, whether it “likes” it or not: Facebook.
It started as an off-the-cuff idea in a break room conversation. According to a recent Business Insider article, a group of Facebook engineers were sitting around chatting when one of them proposed the seemingly-crazy idea of building their own telecommunication system. It sounded farfetched at the time, but made it into hackathon, and six months later was revealed to the public as a product called Voyager.This is no little side project. Business Insider reports, “Voyager has already been tested by Facebook and the European telecom company Telia over Telia's thousand-kilometer-telecom network. Plus, the German telecom equipment maker ADVA Optical Networking is manufacturing the device and as of a few weeks ago had nine customers trying it out for their telecom needs, a mix of big telecom companies and enterprises, it said. And the Paris-based telecom provider Orange is also testing the device, working with Equinix and the African telecom company MTN.”
What does this mean for the telecom industry? Let’s break it down.
For now, it’s unclear how Facebook’s Voyager and the TIP community will shape the telecom industry. But the company, its ideas and its white-box system are certainly acting as a catalyst of change, whatever shape it takes. Whether the home of your News Feed becomes your Internet provider or not, transformation and innovation are coming to telecommunications, and for consumers, that’s definitely something to “like.”