Facebook is Gearing Up to Test Wi-Fi Drones for Internet.org Initiative
Facebook has taken steps ahead of Google in the race to provide internet to everyone in the world. Facebook plans to start testing its internet beaming solar-powered drones in 2015, with the ultimate aim of getting two-thirds of the global population online. Mark Zuckerberg has announced it to be part of the efforts of Internet.org.
Speaking at the Social Good Summit in New York last week, engineering director at Facebook Connectivity Lab, Yael Maguire, detailed the company’s vision of internet-carrying drones, with plans to begin testing in 2015 in a US location which is yet to be determined. “In order for us to fly these planes; unmanned planes that have to fly for months, or perhaps years at a time, we actually have to fly above the weather, above all airspace. That’s between 60,000 and 90,000 feet. Routinely, planes don’t fly there, and certainly not drones” Maguire said.
Wi-Fi will be beamed using solar-powered drones that are the size of a Boeing 747, announced Facebook. Facebook said that the drones would be powered by the Sun and that it would fly in the air for months or years at a time. Apart from the flying Wi-Fi drones, there will be satellites and infrared lasers too which will be built to provide Internet to all.
Facebook has also gone on to join hands with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung for its effort. A spokesperson from Facebook confirmed that though these companies were helping Facebook with bringing internet connectivity to the developing nations, they weren’t going to be a part of the drone project.
Google has been working on a similar project with one of the differences being that they have plans of making use of balloons in addition to the drones. Google’s project has been named project Loon. It has only performed a few tests of the ambitious proposal so far.