NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) has grand and ambitious plans to connect everyone on Earth to the Internet, with its Internet.org 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 Internet.org 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 Internet.org 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 Internet.org 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.