- Firm developing systems to develop internet to underdeveloped countries
- Drones will stay in flight for months and beam data to Earth using lasers
- Has hired experts in solar power than could keep drones flying for months
- Comes after Facebook recently bought VR headset firm
- Facebook has also hired Nasa experts to help with drone systems
Not content with spending $2bn on virtual reality company Oculus this week, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that Facebook’s future is even more sci-fi.
In a post he revealed solar-powered drones, satellites and lasers are all being developed in the firm’s labs to deliver the internet to underdeveloped countries.
He has pledged to work on technology to deliver the internet to ‘the next 3 billion people’ – and revealed the firm has hired experts in solar power that can keep drones flying for months at a time.
‘In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we’ve been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky,’ he wrote.
‘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.
‘Our goal with Internet.org is to make affordable access to basic internet services available to every person in the world.’
‘We’ve made good progress so far.
‘Over the past year, our work in the Philippines and Paraguay alone has doubled the number of people using mobile data with the operators we’ve partnered with, helping 3 million new people access the internet.’
However, he admitted that new technology was the key to expanding the internet’s reach.
‘We’re going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
‘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.’