Facebook Reaches Farther Globally – With Drones

Posted on March 28, 2014 8:00 AM by Tom Roeder

Last year Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made his intentions clear that he wanted to bring internet to remote parts of the world where internet has never existed.   Thursday, Facebook confirmed rumors that engineers are working on a fleet of solar powered drones that will beam internet access to people in the most remote regions of the world.

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According to an announcement from Internet.org, the collaboration of Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and others, joined last year to make this dream a reality.  The drones would fly autonomously for months at a time, at an altitude of 65,000 feet, well above commercial airspace – which also keeps them safer from weather systems that could interfere with flight.

The team is working on improving data communications through the air.  They are developing what is known as free-space optical communication, or FSO.  This will work with lasers being used to send messages between drones and the ground.  In theory, they could reach speeds comparable to land-based fiber optics.

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