Facebook Inc (FB) Aims to Deliver Internet Access via Drones, Satellites


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) seemed following the footsteps of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) with its latest acquisitions and target in technological innovation. Yesterday, its co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced its new Connectivity Lab that will focus on delivering internet access using drones, lasers, and satellites.

The Connectivity Lab of the social network giant will be composed of around 50 aeronautics experts and space scientist who will work on achieving its objective of connecting the world from the sky.

In a blog post, Zuckerberg said, “Our team has many of the world’s leading experts in aerospace and communications technology, including from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center.”

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is also acquiring Ascenta, a company based in United Kingdom whose founders developed that first version Zypher, the world’s longest solar-powered drone worldwide. Zuckerberg said Ascenta’s team will be joining the social network giant’s team to work on connectivity aircraft.

Zuckerberg explained that its Connectivity Lab is part of its Internet.org initiative with a primary objective of connecting billions of people in regions that have no internet access yet such as Africa and Asia. According to him, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will continue to partner with telecommunications companies in different countries worldwide to provide internet access at a more affordable price.

In a paper released today, Zuckerberg said Internet.org achieved “promising early results from its first set of partnerships” particularly in the Philippines and Paraguay. The social network giant partnered with Globe, a wireless operator in the Philippines to offer free data access to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) apps, make data plan registration easier for people, and getting a loan for their data plan.  In Paraguay, the social network giant partnered with TIGO to increase the number of people using the internet and daily data usage by 50%. According to him, the company’s partnership in both countries allowed almost 3 million people get internet access.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) emphasized that its approach in developing a new platform is based on the principle that different communities required different technical solutions.

Yael Maguire, engineering director of Facebook’s Connectivity Lab said, “We want to think about new ways of connectivity that dramatically reduce the cost. We want to explore whether there are ways from the sky to deliver the Internet access.” He emphasized that the existing satellites are capable of delivering internet access to sporadic areas, but the cost is too expensive.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) wants to explore if it is possible to deliver internet access using new types of satellite and drones at a cheaper price. IDC analyst Mathew Eastwood opined that the social network giant is trying to provide internet access to areas where telecommunication companies have not generated any profit. He added that Facebook deserves a credit for such thinking or objective.

The latest initiatives of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is similar to the moon shot projects of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Technology observers suggest that the social network is becoming a mini Google. Earlier this week, Facebook acquired Oculus, a virtual reality technology company for $2 billion. According to Zuckerberg, the company is making the long-term bet that immersive, virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s daily lives.”