Facebook’s First Internet Drone
To achieve its objective of providing Internet access to 4 billion people, Facebook is taking to the skies. Yesterday, the company announced a major milestone in the development and testing of its Aquila drone. Facebook said it has finished construction on its first aircraft, which is now ready for flight testing.
Facebook first announced its ambition to design a fleet of drones to provide Internet connectivity to people living in remote parts of the world more than a year ago. When deployed, the drones will be able to circle remote regions for up to 90 days, beaming connectivity down from altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. The Aquila drone has the wingspan of a 737 but weighs less than a car, thanks to its unique design and carbon fiber frame.
Reaching the Last 10 Percent
“Since we launched Internet.org, it’s been our mission to find ways to provide Internet connectivity to the more than 4 billion people who are not yet online,” Jay Parikh, Facebook’s VP of global engineering and infrastructure, said in the company’s news blog.
Internet.org is Facebook’s initiative to bring free, basic Internet access through mobile providers to people who are not yet online. Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it had reached agreements with mobile providers in 17 countries to provide more than one billion people with free connectivity for basic services.