Social network in negotiations to buy a drone manufacturer with the aim of using its high-altitude autonomous aircraft to beam internet connections to isolated communities
Facebook is in negotiations to buy a drone manufacturer with the aim of using its high-altitude autonomous aircraft to beam internet connections to isolated communities in Africa, according to reports.
The social networking company is one of the main backers of the internet.org project, which aims to connect the large parts of the world which remain offline.
Today, only 2.7 billion people – just over one-third of the world’s population – have access to the internet, according to Facebook. Other founding members include Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung.
Now TechCrunch reports that Facebook intends to buy the maker of advanced solar-powered drones which can remain in the air for up to five years at a time, in the hope that they can be modified to provide internet connectivity for those on the ground.
Titan Aerospace’s drones fly so high – up to 65,000 feet – that they can effectively operate as satellites with far lower operating costs, which the company calls “atmospheric parking”. The Solara 50 and 60 models can carry up to 100kg of equipment.
SOURCE: Matthew Sparkes