Facebook to connect the world using drones, satellites and lasers.
Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced details of a plan to connect the unconnected two-thirds of the world to the internet using a fleet of solar-powered drones, low-earth orbiting and geosynchronous satellites, and infrared laser beams to be used to boost the speed of internet connections.
According to yesterday's announcement from Internet.org, the consortium Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, and others formed last year to spread internet access, the drones would fly for months at a time at altitudes well above commercial airspace.
Although the plans appears altruistic, one analyst noted:
"Zuckerberg is pushing this as an altruistic way of connecting more people in the world - the net as a basic human right - but by increasing the total of net connections it also increases Facebook's members and the amount of sharing done, which in turn creates more space for advertising and drives its revenues in a massive way."
The Facebook program rivals Google's plans to develop solar-powered balloons to deliver net access to remote areas of the world.
But given evidence of collusion between large US internet companies and the NSA, the US spy agency, both programs are likely to meet with opposition from national governments concerned about the ability of such systems to eavesdrop on their communications. Perhaps, legitimately so. After all, the internet was a project of the United States Department of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).