News Articles

How Facebook’s Project SEISMIC helps bring greener telecom infrastructure

By: Julius Kusuma, Erik Boch, Philip Liddell

Facebook Connectivity’s mission is to enable better, broader global connectivity to bring more people online to a faster internet. This mission has become more important, with ever-increasing data consumption and need for coverage. We collaborate with others in the industry — including telecom operators, community leaders, technology developers, and researchers — in order to find solutions that are scalable and sustainable. One of our most recent collaborations is Project SEISMIC: Smart Energy Infrastructure for Mobile Internet Connectivity. In this project, we are developing a solution to smartly manage the power and functionality of telecom sites. For example, we can reduce the capacity and transmission power of the site during less busy periods. By doing so, we want to better design and operate off-grid sites in order to reduce cost and improve their sustainability.

Many parts of the world still lack coverage and capacity, especially in rural areas. To help close this gap, telecommunications providers need to build new telecom sites and links. However, many rural areas lack access to an electrical grid. This presents a major challenge, as telecom sites and networks consume a significant amount of power, and this consumption is expected to rise even further.

In places where there is no reliable electricity grid, we have to rely on solar power, diesel power, or hydropower. Each has its own set of requirements: Solar-powered sites require solar panels and batteries to be brought on-site, diesel-powered sites need periodic resupply of diesel, and hydropowered sites require the construction of hydro generators. All this leads to significant challenges in cost, logistics, and transportation, presenting a barrier to providing connectivity in remote areas. To help remove these barriers and help make rural connectivity more accessible, Facebook is exploring innovations like Project SEISMIC that enable us to build and operate telecom sites more efficiently.

Bringing a more sustainable connectivity

Project SEISMIC offers smart power management of telecom sites, using dynamic power management to better design and operate off-grid sites.