Facebook Using Drones to Blanket the World in Internet Connectivity

September 25, 2015 - 2 minutes read

Facebook recently unveiled the specifics of the company’s plans to launch a series of solar-powered drones that will broadcast wireless Internet signals to remote areas. The laser-connected drones are expected to bring Internet access to people who live too far from existing wireless infrastructure to get a wireless signal. Estimates suggest that approximately 10 percent of Earth’s population, or about 700 million people, fall into that category.

According to Facebook representatives, several national governments have indicated that they are interested in acquiring drones for their countries. The unmanned aerial vehicles, which are known as Aquila drones, were developed as part of a Facebook-backed humanitarian project with three main objectives:

  • To bring Internet accessibility to people who would otherwise be unable to afford it
  • To enable those who are not aware of the Internet’s benefits to discover its potential
  • To ensure everyone can access the Internet, no matter where they live

Facebook’s first Aquila drone is completely built, with specifications that enable it to remain airborne for up to 90 days. Each drone is capable of broadcasting a wireless Internet signal to areas of approximately 50 miles in diameter, and are expected to revolutionize connectivity in remote rural areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of India.

While the project was a major reason that Facebook’s year-over-year quarterly expenditures have almost doubled, many investors believe that the company will recover those expenses by monetizing the drone technology. Internet of Things app developers will also be paying close attention to these developments, as the connectivity improvements will have far-reaching consequences that go beyond everyday computing.

If you’re an app developer in Dallas and you’ve been looking for a way to reach a new and untapped market, Facebook’s Aquila drones could prove to be just the ticket. The technology is delivering an extremely fast signal, with tests generating connection speeds of up to 10 gigabits.

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