By the Blouin News Technology staff

Facebook upping its web-delivery drone project

by in Media Tech.

(Source: mkhmarketing/flickr)

(Source: mkhmarketing/flickr)

How to better deliver internet to those without was a topic of focus at Facebook’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week. Little wonder perhaps. The company has been at the center of controversy around providing free internet all year (its Free Basics program was rejected by both India and Egypt for various reasons). But the F8 conference isn’t usually about politics; rather, it’s about the technology itself. True to form, CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the company’s plans has for bringing connectivity to the billions of people on Earth without it. He mentioned Aquila, the giant solar-powered drone that debuted last year, as part of the company’s web expansion plans, noting that it can fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet and stay airborne for months at a time.

Aquila, while separate from other initiatives Facebook has launched to try to disseminate internet, will likely end up bridging some of them, for example the company’s satellite project to ground users. Aquila is not part of the same Internet.org project that will launch a satellite in the next few months, but it could function as an intermediary of sorts. The EE Times details that the Aquila has a wider wingspan than a Boeing 757 plane, weighs less than a small car, can circle a remote region for up to 90 days, cruising between 60,000 and 90,000 feet, and it might be part of a bigger network of aircraft that will connect using optical laser beams that communicate among gateways in rural regions and the Aquila…

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