Facebook said to plan drone-powered internet

Dylan Bushell-Embling
05 Mar 2014

Facebook is in talks to acquire a drone manufacturer, to help fulfil CEO Mark Zuckerberg's goal of connecting the next billion people.

TechCrunch reports that Facebook is seeking to acquire Titan Aerospace for around $60 million.

Titan produces solar-powered drones capable of flying for five years without needing to land. The company touts the drones' ability to fulfil most of the functions of a satellite without costing as much to produce.

According to the report, Facebook wants to use the drones to provide internet access in underserved parts of the world, starting with Africa, as part of the Internet.org initiative.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used his keynote address at Mobile World Congress last week to call on the telecom industry to provide basic internet services to the unconnected for free. His talk focused on connecting the next billion people.

Google's Project Loon is another initiative aimed at bringing affordable internet access to underserved areas. It involves floating high-altitude balloons equipped with antennas that can relay internet signals to hard to reach areas.

Zuckerberg made fun of Project Loon during his keynote, and Facebook appears to be planning a competing initiative.

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