With an aim to provide internet connectivity even in remote locations, Facebook is planning to start testing internet beaming drones next year. As per it plan the social networking giant will launch the first test plane in 2015 in order to provide internet access through the sci-fi planes as early as three to five years from now.
At the Social Good Summit in New York earlier this week, more details were revealed by Facebook Connectivity Lab’s Yael Maguire about the social networking sites plans. He said that the venture aims to connect the last 15 percent of the unconnected world population with the internet planes. As said by him, designing the plane that will fly above the weather – 60.000 to 90.000 feet up in the air – for months or even years at a time, has been the biggest concern for them. So, he said they will need to adapt solar power panels to the new task, as it may be the only feasible solution. Anyway, operating machinery at such a high altitude has a lot of challenges.
“In order for us to fly these planes — unmanned planes that have to fly for months, or perhaps years at a time — we actually have to fly above the weather, above all airspace,” Maguire said. “That’s between 60,000 and 90,000 feet. Routinely, planes don’t fly there, and certainly not drones.”
“We’re taking on a whole bunch of technical risk, but we’re also taking on whole bunch of regulatory risk, because there are no rules about flying planes outside of 60,000 feet and above. There are no rules about beaming signals down to people in those environments,”
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According to the sources, even the search giant Google is planning to build a satellite fleet to provide internet access in remote areas and that as per the plans the company will spend more than $1 billion to build 180 new satellites that will orbit the Earth and provide internet access globally.
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