Facebook Drone to Spread Internet to Remote Areas

Facebook introduced the full-scale version of their solar-powered drone, which is a plane they call Aquila. The design and plan is for it to be able to fly for 90 days at an altitude of between 60,000 and 90,000 feet in order to put it above weather systems. The drone would bring Internet connectivity to remote areas of the world where it is rather difficult to install cellular phone towers or cable. Aquila is a component of Internet.org, which is (according to their website) “a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access.” Those numbers without web access are estimated at 1.1 billion to 2.8 billion people today.

The idea is that Aquila will circle for 90 days at a time at an altitude of between 60,000 and 90,000 feet that would put it above the most violent weather and clouds, where it would wirelessly beam Internet signals (via a laser) to base stations on the ground that would be small towers and dishes, where the antennas would then convert the signal into Wi-Fi or 4G networks. The technology would be used in underdeveloped areas of countries like Nigeria and India.