This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Facebook Wants to Bring Drones and Lasers To Deliver the Internet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB - Get Report) has grand and ambitious plans to connect everyone on Earth to the Internet, with its initiative. Today, it announced the next steps behind this initiative.

In a post to his Facebook page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Connectivity Lab, the team getting this plan up and running, and how it's going to do so. "Our goal with is to make affordable access to basic internet services available to every person in the world," Zuckerberg said on the Facebook post. "Today, we're sharing some details of the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone."

Zuckerberg noted that the plan has shown an early return on investment, helping get 3 million new people connected to the Internet in the Philippines and Paraguay alone.

At the time of the announcement, Zuckerberg noted that though smartphones are likely to get cheaper in the coming years, it is still a difficult task to get people connected to the Internet in third-world countries, because the cost of data is so high. "Even though projections show most people will get smartphones in the next decade, most people still won't have data access because the cost of data remains much more expensive than the price of a smartphone," Zuckerberg wrote in the initial blog post, announcing in Aug. 2013.

Facebook is working with Nokia (NOK), Qualcomm (QCOM), Samsung, Ericsson (ERIC), MediaTek and Opera on the initiative.

"Our team has many of the world's leading experts in aerospace and communications technology, including from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center," Zuckerberg went on to say in the post. "Today we are also bringing on key members of the team from Ascenta, a small UK-based company whose founders created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world's longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. They will join our team working on connectivity aircraft."

Facebook is rumored to have been in talks with drone maker Titan Aerospace for $60 million to help with the plan.

Must Read: Microsoft Unveils Office for iPad

Here is the full post announcing Connectivity Lab:

Last year Facebook and other tech companies launched, a global partnership to make the internet available to the two thirds of the world's population that doesn't have it. We believe connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation, and that everyone deserves access to the knowledge, tools and opportunities that come from being connected.

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced a team at Facebook that has been working on new technologies to improve and extend internet access. Begun by the same engineering talent behind Facebook's infrastructure team and the Open Compute Project, the Connectivity Lab team has been working on developing new platforms for connectivity on the ground, in the air and in orbit.

To make these platforms a reality we've recently added some of the world's top experts on aerospace technology including the team from Ascenta, a UK-based company with a deep expertise in designing and building high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft. The five-member Ascenta team has combined more than 100 years of experience in the aerospace industry including leadership positions with QinetiQ, Boeing, Honeywell and the Harris Corporation. They have worked on noteworthy projects like the Breitling Orbiter and early versions of Zephyr, which became the world's longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.

Other recent additions to the team have come from organizations including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA's Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

The team's approach is based on the principle that different sized communities need different solutions and they are already working on new delivery platforms-including planes and satellites-to provide connectivity for communities with different population densities.

For suburban areas in limited geographical regions, we've been working on solar-powered high altitude, long endurance aircraft that can stay aloft for months, be quickly deployed and deliver reliable internet connections.

For lower density areas, low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous satellites can beam internet access to the ground.

For all of these systems, the team is looking at Free-space optical communication, or FSO, is a way of using light to transmit data through space using invisible, infrared laser beams.

FSO is a promising technology that potentially allows us to dramatically boost the speed of internet connections provided by satellites and drones.

More info on our approach can be found here.

Facebook is focused on solving hard engineering problems by building ambitious solutions to address them. We're looking to people who share this passion and we've posted open positions for this team on the Facebook Careers page.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

>Contact by Email.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
FB $105.47 0.06%
AAPL $117.82 -0.18%
GOOG $750.27 0.28%
TSLA $231.11 0.64%
YHOO $32.95 -0.63%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,090.11 +1.24 0.06%
NASDAQ 5,127.5250 +11.3820 0.22%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs