Facebook to use drones and lasers to ‘beam’ internet to the world

Facebook to use drones and lasers to ‘beam’ internet to the world

Facebook to use drones and lasers to ‘beam’ internet to the world

Written by Bella Dalima

28 Mar, 2014 | 3:49 pm

Facebook plans to use drones, satellites and lasers to deliver Internet to the world.

After announcing Internet.org last year, an initiative to improve Internet access across the globe, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the Connectivity Lab, a new team of scientists that has been working on the ambitious project.

He said that the Connectivity Lab would develop “new platforms for connectivity on the ground, in the air and in orbit,” according to a post on Internet.org on Thursday.

“Connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the Connectivity Lab.

Facebook hired scientists from organizations like NASA, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Ascenta, a British company that developed the a solar-powered drone. These scientists will develop solar-powered drones that can provide Internet connectivity from high altitudes in suburban areas. For lower density areas, they will try to develop satellites that can “beam internet access to the ground,” according to the announcement.

Earlier this month, rumors indicated Facebook was interested in buying drone-maker Titan, but it’s unclear if the company is part of this new plan.

Facebook didn’t share many details about these new efforts, but Zuckerberg did say that Internet.org has already helped connect three million new people to the Internet in the Philippines and Paraguay, doubling the number of people using mobile data.

Google has been working on similar projects. In November 2013, the search giant announced Project Link, a new initiative to bring fiber networks to the developing world. A few months earlier, Google launched a more crazy-sounding idea: bring Internet to remote area through hot air balloons. The initiative was code-named Project Loon.

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