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Facebook: Internet Will Shoot Out of Lasers on Our Huge Drone

posted: 07/30/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Facebook Aquila
Facebook Engineering

Right on the heels of Google's announcement that it will deploy a network of balloons to blanket Sri Lanka in wireless Internet access, Facebook let slip that it, too, is getting in on the wireless Internet game.

In a post on his Facebook wall, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared details of Aquila, a full-scale aircraft that uses those lasers we heard about last month to beam wireless Internet access to areas with no existing Internet infrastructure.

Related: Facebook Scraps Plans to Launch Satellite to Provide Internet to Developing World

Sporting a wingspan the size of a jetliner, Aquila can "accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away":

I'm excited to announce we've completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort. Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time. We've also made a breakthrough in laser communications technology. We've successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That's ten times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away.This effort is important because 10% of the world's population lives in areas without existing internet infrastructure. To affordably connect everyone, we need to build completely new technologies. Using aircraft to connect communities using lasers might seem like science fiction. But science fiction is often just science before its time. Over the coming months, we will test these systems in the real world and continue refining them so we can turn their promise into reality. Here's a video showing the building of Aquila.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, July 30, 2015


"Using aircraft to connect communities using lasers might seem like science fiction"? You can say that again, Zuckerberg!

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