Internet by drones?

Facebook wants to use drones, lasers and satellites “to deliver the internet to everyone.”

In a post on the site on Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined his plans to “connect the whole world” through Internet.org.


The effort, which is also being backed by companies like Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung, aims to bring the Internet to the approximately two-thirds of the world currently without access. A Facebook lab unveiled on Thursday will specifically focus on ways to use planes and satellites to connect people.

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our goal with Internet.org is to make affordable access to basic internet services available to every person in the world.”

Satellite systems, for instance, might help to be able to connect people in low-density areas.

“To do that potentially requires really new innovation, both in terms of low Earth orbit satellite systems as well as geosynchronous satellite systems,” said Yael Maguire, who is working on the lab for Facebook, in a video.

“There’s a fabulous set of problems to work on to try to figure out how to make that all work and how to make all those satellites interconnect with each other to make sure you have an Internet backbone that’s essentially flying through the air as these satellites are moving by you.” 

He also outlined potential plans for lasers that act like fiberoptic networks as well as high-flying solar-power drones that have the ability to “just broadcast Internet down.”

The effort has help from NASA laboratories and research centers as well as Ascenta, a company in the United Kingdom that designs and builds aircraft. Facebook has also been reported to be in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, which produce the types of drones necessary to stay in flight and deliver the Internet form the sky.