The internet space race is on.
We recently got a look at SpaceX’s ambitious plan to send 4,000 satellites into orbit that would be capable of broadcasting internet to all corners of our planet. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg released a video that outlined Facebook’s equally impressive plan to shower the world’s most remote regions with web access.
And by impressive we mean it’s a solar-powered plane that beams down internet from the sky.
Named Aquila, the plane is a project of Facebook’s affordable internet access initiative internet.org and can stay in the air for months at a time. It has the wingspan of a 747 but weighs less than a car; Zuckerberg also reveals his team have successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second.
Aircrafts giving communities internet access with lasers – the future is now.
I’m excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort. Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time. 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.This effort is important because 10% of the world’s population lives in areas without existing internet infrastructure. To affordably connect everyone, we need to build completely new technologies. Using aircraft to connect communities using lasers might seem like science fiction. But science fiction is often just science before its time. Over the coming months, we will test these systems in the real world and continue refining them so we can turn their promise into reality. Here’s a video showing the building of Aquila.
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, July 30, 2015