Now that Facebook wear the crown for biggest social network in the world, they are upping their game to head into new realms. Space is their next endeavour with the company in talks to purchase 11,000 drones that would provide internet access to isolated, developing communities.
These advanced, solar-powered drones are built by Titan Aerospace, can fly up to 65,000 feet and remain in the air for up to five years. They go by the more technical name of an ‘Atmostat’ and can operate as near-Earth satellites without launch into orbit and for much lower costs. According to reports, Facebook is looking into buying the manufacturer for $60m and planning to use the aircrafts to beam in a blanket of connection across Africa and other countries.
Amongst other founding members which include Nokia, Samsung and MediaTek, the social network plays a pro-active role in the internet.org project which aims to bring internet to parts of the world that are isolated from a connection.
Mark Zuckerberg has commented: “It’s easy to take for granted that most people have access to the internet, but only one third of the world, 2.7 billion people, currently have access to the internet.” He has also stated that the company are willing to spend significant amounts of money with profit no object in order to connect more people across the world. The acquisition of Titan’s drone technology would be a major step towards change.
Interestingly, the project would be in competition with Google’s Project Loon which aims to launch 30 balloons into the stratosphere to form a network. If this was successful it would supply 3G speeds to unconnected areas in the world but the balloons would need to be replaced every 100 days.
If Facebook attains Titan Aerospace then they could expand their user base across the world, connect more people and tap into developing markets such as Africa.
Check out this video to find out more about the Titan Aerospace drones: