Facebook has announced a group of 20 start-ups that will take part in its new Facebook Accelerator: Connectivity program which aims to explore new ways to maximize internet connectivity in more regions.

As explained by Facebook:

“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the hard truth of the digital divide and the critical need for reliable, affordable internet connectivity. The Facebook Accelerator: Connectivity program will strengthen emerging startups focused on the same goal of bringing more people online to a faster internet.”

The 20 businesses will take part in a 12-week virtual program which aims to help them scale their operations through training, workshops, access to experts, and meetings with potential strategic partners and investors. 

The program begins this week, and will conclude with a demo day in February, providing an opportunity for each participant to showcase their progress.

Connecting the next billion users has long been one of Facebook’s key goals, both as means of facilitating economic opportunity and growing its presence. Through its internet.org initiative, The Social Network has already brought more than 100 million more people online who otherwise would not have access the web, and it continues to explore more innovative solutions like its Terragraph optimization framework and solar-powered internet drones

It has, however, abandoned its Aquila drone project, which would have provided internet to remote regions by hovering on high above. But this latest round of start-ups may highlight new ways that Facebook can connect more people, and link the millions of regions that do not have internet access, facilitating more opportunity.

And if Facebook can get in on the ground floor, it can become an essential provider in these new places. And thus, the Zuckerberg Empire continues to expand.

You can read more about the Facebook Accelerator: Connectivity participants here.

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