Facebook concept could take internet to third world nations
Facebook has unveiled that they’re working on a concept that could bring internet to remote parts of the world through the use of drones, lasers, and satellites, improving connectivity and affordability of the technology.
After the $2B acquisition of Oculus VR, the makers of Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, Facebook appears to be on a major tech acquisition kick, as the company geeks out at the possibility of making Star Trek a reality.
The company plans to hire “key members of the team” from Ascenta, whose founders created early versions of a solar powered drone that can run longer than any other in the world.
The drone project is part of the newly unveiled Facebook Connectivity Lab which has also hired Ascenta talent, and NASA recruits. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg says the goal is to support Internet.org, an initiative led by Facebook that seeks to connect the billions of people without internet, which he has long advocated for.
The internet drone concept appears to cap a series of acquisitions, including Onavo last year, which develops data compression technology so apps can run faster, which is critical to developing nations where people have slow Internet. Zuckerberg said last month that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with 2G or 3G wireless access, asserting that people need to connect in order to better obtain financial services, and access to health care information and educational materials.
Facebook isn’t alone in the quest to help the underserved to connect, and this is not the first proposal for drone technologies for this purpose.
But this project may sound familiar because Google recently launched Project Loon, adding internet-beaming antennas on top of giant helium balloons to bring internet to everyone on Earth. Some consider this project superior, noting leeriness of Facebook’s plans to use lasers.
Either way, well-funded tech companies are highly invested in bringing more people online – so much so that long-held geek fantasies are finally coming to fruition.