For some it costs too much, but up to a fifth of the population, or some 1.4 billion people, live where the basic network infrastructure has yet to be built, according to a Facebook white paper last month. Even these figures, says Kurtis Heimerl, whose Berkeley-based start-up Endaga has helped build one of the worlds smallest telecoms networks in an eastern Indonesian village, ignore the many people who have a cellphone but have to travel hours to make a call or send a message. But theyre not covered. Heimerl reckons up to 2 billion people live most of their lives without easy access to cellular coverage. Improving the range and speed of communications beneath the seas that cover more than two-thirds of the planet is a must for environmental monitoring – climate recording, pollution control, predicting natural disasters like tsunami, monitoring oil and gas fields, and protecting harbors.