27Telefonica: Using Artificial Intelligence To Connect The Unconnected

Telefonica is a Spanish multinational telecom company, which is one of the largest telephone operators, broadband providers and mobile network providers in the world. In the United Kingdom it is known as O2 since the parent company acquired the brand, a spin-off from British Telecom, in 2006.

In 2018, it announced ambitious plans to connect up to 100 million inhabitants of some of the most remote regions of South America. It will do this by using artificial intelligence (AI) to locate communities underserved by telecoms infrastructure, and to allocate resources to enable them to be brought online.

What Problem Is Artificial Intelligence Trying To Solve?

Advanced technologies can do a lot to change people's lives for the better. Enhanced connectivity broadens opportunities and horizons for business and education, and allows vital services such as utilities and transport infrastructure to be planned and administered efficiently.

However, with more than half of the world's population still unable to access the internet,1 vast swathes of the world are still unable to take advantage of these opportunities.

The problem is caused by the fact that while the cost of distributing online and connectivity infrastructure has fallen dramatically in urban areas, where there are large numbers of customers willing to pay for the services concentrated in relatively small geographic areas, in remote rural regions the story ...

Get Artificial Intelligence in Practice now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.