Facebook is looking to expand their network in order to advance Mark Zuckerberg's other project, Internet.org, which aims to provide Internet access to people all over the world. But this expansion is now going to incorporate drones.
"When I was getting started with Facebook, I could build it because I had access to the Internet and a few basic tools that gave me what I needed to build this for the world," Mark Zuckerberg explains in an Internet.org video. "And if we can get to a point where everyone around the world has access to those same tools then everyone is going to be able to benefit from the innovation and ideas and hard work of billions of people around the world."
The first step in their plan is to acquire drone maker Titan Aerospace for a reported $60 million. Titan is developing drones that are solar-powered and can fly at an altitude of 65,000 feet. They can also remain in the air for up to five years. Having drones will allow Facebook to then beam Internet access to developing parts of the world such as Africa and Asia.
Titan Chief Vern Raburn explains, "What we have is an airplane that's solar-powered, so it doesn't have any fuel and it can climb up to a very high altitude and just stay there. And at that altitude it can do a multiplicity of missions ranging from communications, data, optical, weather sensing."
Whether Facebook decides to buy Titan Aerospace or just a large fleet of drones, Facebook will be one of the first few companies to push the use of drones to spread Internet access.