Facebook is reportedly scrapping plans to develop its own satellite for the purpose of providing basic internet services to every nick and corner of the world, says a report from The Information, which cites anonymous sources. As per the report, the scrapping of plans may have to do with the massive expenditures needed to fund the project.
Facebook may lease space on other satellites
As per the report, Facebook abandoned its $1 billion plan to work on its existing projects, and there are possibilities that the social network will lease space on other satellites. However, the Internet.org project pages still say that the team “is exploring a variety of technologies, including high-altitude long-endurance planes, satellites and lasers.”
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In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed efforts by the company’s Connectivity Lab to develop drones, satellites and lasers for providing internet to all parts of the globe. Though the CEO gave no information on the financial aspect, he said that the social network has hired experts in the “aerospace and communications technology” for the project. Facebook might have given up on its satellite plans, but it is moving ahead with drones, which have a wingspan similar in size to those of a Boeing 737 and can remain in the air for months.
Facebook’s Connectivity Lab, according to Zuckerberg, employs researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Ames Research Center and Ascenta, which is credited with developing the world’s longest-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. The Connectivity Lab works with Internet.org, a initiative from Facebook that aims to connect two-thirds of the world population that “doesn’t have internet access.” Other members of the Internet.org initiative include Ericsson, Nokia and MediaTek.
Google also scrapped satellite plans
Earlier this year, SpaceX collected $1 billion from Google and Fidelity to fund a satellite Internet project. Facebook and Google have been making efforts to innovate ways to make internet accessible to all parts of the world. By this, the tech firms want to ensure a regular flow of users for their services. A few months ago, Google also abandoned its plan even though the internet giant hired satellite entrepreneur Greg Wyler to develop a satellite constellation in 2014.
Apart from Internet.org, Facebook is making apps aimed at emerging markets. Recently the social network unveiled an ultra-lightweight Android app, which makes its platform easier to access, even on low bandwidth.