Facebook has partnered with experts in aerospace technology to use drones, satellites, and lasers to provide internet access around the world.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the company's plans for providing internet access worldwide to people who live in regions without an infrastructure for internet connections. Through partnerships with internet.org and aerospace technology experts, Facebook hopes to connect the rest of the world online through drones, satellites, and lasers.
Facebook's Connectivity Lab will include people from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center. It also hired Ascenta, developer of the Zephyr, currently the record holder for longest-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.
In today's digital age, the United Nations have declared internet access a basic human right, but two-thirds of the world still has no internet access. Zuckerberg noted Facebook has already made progress in the Phillipines and Paraguay, doubling the number of people who use mobile data with Facebook's partnered operators. According to Zuckerberg, this has helped 3 million people access the internet.
"We're going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too," Zuckerberg said. "That's what our Connectivity Lab focuses on, and there's a lot more exciting work to do here."
Facebook's move for wider internet access isn't entirely altruistic. More people online means greater potential to increase the number of Facebook users. This project also stands to compete with Google's Project Loon, which uses solar-powered balloons to deliver internet access worldwide. So far, 30 balloons have been launched in New Zealand.