On Thursday, Facebook Inc., unsatisfied with its global access, announced it has built a full-scale drone to fly between 60,000 feet above ground at night and 90,000 feet during the day to allow the entire world to use Facebook.
Jay Parikh, vice president of engineering, boasted, “Our mission is to connect everybody in the world. This is going to be a great opportunity for us to motivate the industry to move faster on this technology.”
The drones, which have a wingspan of 46 yards and weigh 880 pounds, will be able to hover for 90 days, aided by helium balloons. They will circle an area with a two-mile radius.
The drones will be tested in the U.S. in the fall of 2015. They are part of Facebook’s Aquila effort, which was designed to reach the 10 percent of the world’s population without Internet access.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chortled:
I’m excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort… 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.
According to Facebook, “Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access.”