Facebook confirms plans to offer Internet access via solar-powered air drones

Facebook has now confirmed previous rumors that it plans to provide Internet access to regions that are not currently connected via a series of solar-powered air drones. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a post on his own page announcing that the company had hired "key members" from a company called Ascenta to help in those efforts.

Zuckerberg's post stated their new employees "created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world’s longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft." A page on the Internet.org site offers up some more information on Facebook's efforts, under its Connecting Labs division.

Facebook has already been working to increase Internet access in the Philippines and Paraguay, according to Zuckerberg, Those early efforts have allowed three million new people a way to access the Internet for the first time in those regions. The Connecting Labs division is working to expand those efforts to other parts of the world, using drones along with low and geosynchronous orbiting satellites working to bring Internet access.

Facebook joins Google in trying to offer better ways to offer Internet access to third world regions. Google's approach is "Project Loon" which will use high altitude balloons to bounce data signals down to the ground; Google has already tested this approach in New Zealand and California.

Source: Internet.org and Facebook

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19 Comments

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Why don't they spend this money instead on getting water to third world countries? Do they need internet? Probably not. Do they need clean water? Most definitely.

koppit said,
Why don't they spend this money instead on getting water to third world countries? Do they need internet? Probably not. Do they need clean water? Most definitely.
Causality.

I'm for it, despise Facebook, but if it works it might spur competition and THAT would be welcomed, anything to help kill TWC and Comcast monopolies.

Hahaiah said,
I'm for it, despise Facebook, but if it works it might spur competition and THAT would be welcomed, anything to help kill TWC and Comcast monopolies.

read the Internet.org article. They're trying to get the Internet to areas that don't already have access. The United States already has Internet access, even those that live in the middle of a field can get Internet via satellite.

> Facebook joins Google in trying to offer better ways to offer Internet access to third world regions

Sometimes, having a billion subscribers just simply isn't enough. Megalomaniac much, Zuckerberg?

Invizibleyez said,
So one way or another, our world will be surrounded by drones. Amazon, Facebook, what next? NSA?

I am pretty sure the NSA has satellites that can probably see your heat signature in your house or car as you drive down the road with amazing clarity so I am not sure they need drones =).

Scabrat said,

I am pretty sure the NSA has satellites that can probably see your heat signature in your house or car as you drive down the road with amazing clarity so I am not sure they need drones =).

Actually the do need drones still. Satellites are quite limited in that they can only look one way. Down. They can't see your face unless you happen to look up at it.

Edited by shinji257, Apr 1 2014, 9:54pm :

shinji257 said,

Actually the do need drones still. Satellites are quite limited in that they can only look one way. Down. They can't see your face unless you happen to look up at it.

While I don't doubt that is true, I also acknowledge the possibility that they are using a satellite from just over a mountain top to view it at the same angles drones can get =). Or even see my reflection in a puddle or something...

So how exactly does one go about hiring only "key members" from another company? Did they buy the company? If not don't they mean they poached their employees?

Romero said,
So how exactly does one go about hiring only "key members" from another company? Did they buy the company? If not don't they mean they poached their employees?

What's wrong with that?

pack34 said,
What's wrong with that?
I can guarantee your reaction to something like this will be diametrically opposite if you're the owner of a company losing your employees as opposed to being an employee who ended up with a fatter pay cheque.