Tags: facebook | wifi | drone | internet | planes

Facebook Wi-Fi 'Drone' Could Actually Be a Plane as Big as a 747

By    |   Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 08:17 AM

Facebook's rumored Wi-Fi "drones" could actually be unmanned planes as big as Boeing 747s that fly for months, or even years, in order to bring Internet to the unconnected parts of the world.

Yael Maguire, Facebook Connectivity Lab director, detailed the plans at Mashable's Social Good Summit this week, telling the audience that his team has identified 21 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia that would greatly benefit from the service.

"We're taking on a whole bunch of technical risk, but we're also taking on whole bunch of regulatory risk, because there are no rules about flying planes outside of 60,000 feet and above," Maguire said at the summit. "There are no rules about beaming signals down to people in those environments."

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Facebook, through its nonprofit organization Internet.org, is in a race with Google and its Project Loon to connect areas not serviced by the Internet. According to TheVerge.com, Google has tested drones and balloons but the trials have been limited so far.

Facebook's Wi-Fi drone plan has reportedly gained support from tech giants Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung, though a company spokesperson insists that the social media network is on its own with the drone project, according to TheVerge.com.

The project's biggest stumbling block is the current "one pilot per plane" rule that is required to fly something as large as a 747, Maguire said. He told the summit that the latest technology would allow one pilot on the ground to manage up to 100 solar-powered planes.

"We can't have one person per plane if we want to figure out how to connect the world," he said.

Facebook plans to get its first drone airborne over the United States by 2015, and then beam out an Internet signal within three to five years after that, Mashable noted.

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Facebook's rumored Wi-Fi "drones" could actually be unmanned planes as big as Boeing 747s that fly for months, or even years, in order to bring Internet to the unconnected parts of the world.
facebook, wifi, drone, internet, planes
327
2014-17-25
Thursday, 25 Sep 2014 08:17 AM
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