Facebook and Google are competing to see who can bring Internet access to the entire world the fastest and nobody seems to car who wins, not even them, considering how everyone benefits from this. Facebook’s latest move in this direction comes in the form of a full-size drone that will have the same wingspan of as a Boeing 737, will weigh the same as a small car, will be powered by the sun, and will provide Internet access to potentially millions of people.
Facebook plans to test a version of its solar-powered drone this summer, a step in its efforts to beam Internet access to billions of people without it today, executives said on Thursday. Earlier this month, Facebook tested a smaller drone, about one-tenth the size of its planned solar-powered models. The full-size version will have the wingspan of a Boeing 737 but only weigh as much as a small car. The drone — dubbed Aquila — is one aspect of Facebook’s Internet.org plan to extend Web access to what it estimates are 1.1 billion to 2.8 billion people without it today. Facebook and rival Google are experimenting with multiple technologies to reach people unlikely to be served by traditional landlines or cellular networks. In addition to drones, Facebook is evaluating satellite and other technologies. Google has its own drone program, is working on high-altitude balloons and has had a program to deliver Internet access from orbiting satellites. Facebook executives said the company is unlikely to get drones aloft and beaming Internet access any time soon. They cited the need to vet the drone’s safety and communication features as well as form partnerships with carriers.