Drone Delivery of Internet Access to Billions : Aquila by Zuckerberg and Facebook
Facebook is on a mission to provide Internet access to less privileged people across the globe. In a recent blog by Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure, he announced that Facebook Connectivity Lab has completed the first full-scale test flight of Aquila, a high-altitude unmanned aircraft.
Think of Aquila as a large drone that runs on solar power and can remain in the air for up to three months at a time. While Elon Musk will be pleased with the usage of solar power, the significance here is that Aquila can beam connectivity to earth for all the time it is up in the air.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Chairman and CEO wrote in his blog on July 21st:
The flight took place before dawn in Yuma, Arizona. Our original mission was to fly Aquila for 30 minutes, but things went so well that we decided to keep the plane up for 96 minutes. We gathered lots of data about our models and the aircraft structure — and after two years of development, it was emotional to see Aquila actually get off the ground.
Internet access can offer life-changing opportunities and experiences to all of us, but there are still 4 billion people without it. That’s 60% of the global population. As many as 1.6 billion of those unconnected people live in remote locations with no access to mobile broadband networks, where implementing existing network technologies is so challenging and costly that it will take years to bring everyone affordable access. As part of our commitment to Internet.org, we formed the Facebook Connectivity Lab to build new technologies — including aircraft, satellites, and wireless communications systems — to help solve this problem more quickly.
It is yet to be seen whether and how governments and operators across the globe warm up to Internet.org programs. The drone internet service provider technology however seems very promising and if successful could set examples for other companies including Google. VCloud News wishes the Facebook team success with this huge mission!
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