Delivering internet with a drone?

August 5, 2016  

With more than 1.7 billion active users worldwide, Facebook has become ubiquitous in the tech-oriented industrialized world. According the Pew Research Center, 71% of American adults with internet access use Facebook, and 96% of social media users regularly log on to Facebook.

Having reached a ceiling among Western users, the social media giant is looking to expand its user base – by linking hundreds of millions of people around the globe up to wireless internet connections (WiFi).

Less than half of the world’s population has access to the internet, leaving some 4 billion people unconnected – an untapped user base for internet giants like Facebook and Google.

But providing traditional internet connections requires expensive infrastructures to develop and maintain – something beyond the reach of the Mark Zuckerberg’s social media phenomenon.

Now, however, Facebook has pinned its hopes on a work-around, using the same technology used by the military to fight the war on terror to deliver wireless internet access to even the most remote locations around the globe.

With a drone project code-named “Aquila”, Facebook has developed a low-powered, low-maintenance unmanned aircraft the size of a passenger airliner that uses the same amount of energy as three hairdryers.

Solar-powered and lighter than the average car, the Aquila drone system can remain airborne for weeks, broadcasting WiFi to users below, all while cruising at an altitude above commercial airliners.

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