Facebook Wants to Deliver Internet From Drones

New lab aims to 'beam Internet from sky'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 28, 2014 12:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – Facebook has followed up its leap into virtual reality with an ambitious plan to deliver the Internet around the world with drones, satellites, and lasers. "We've been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky," Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post explaining the work of Internet.org, a partnership between Facebook and telecoms firms like Nokia that aims to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world that doesn't have easy access. Zuckerberg says Facebook's "Connectivity Lab" has some of the world's leading aerospace experts on board, including talent from NASA and from solar-powered drone maker Ascenta, TechCrunch reports.

Facebook says at least 50 experts will work in its new lab developing "connectivity aircraft." Google, meanwhile, is working on its own plan to bring the Internet around the world with a network of balloons, and some observers see an element of competitiveness in Facebook's initiative. "The more I think about it—drones and virtual reality and the excessive amount of money they're paying for WhatsApp— they're making these decisions in lieu of having a solid business practice in place," a tech analyst tells the New York Times. "Sometimes I get the feeling that Facebook is really just trying to keep up with the Joneses."

This undated image released by Titan Aerospace, a company Facebook is rumored to be acquiring, shows the company's Solara 50 aircraft.   (AP Photo/Titan Aerospace)
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A video explaining the Facebook initiative.   (YouTube)

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