Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking to the skies to bring the wonders of the Internet to everyone across the globe.
Working with his pet web philanthropy project, Internet.org, Zuckerberg enlisted different tech companies to create drones, satellites and lasers to connect people on the ground with the Internet.
According to Internet.org, two thirds of the world’s population is still not connected to the Internet.
“Our goal with Internet.org is to make affordable access to basic Internet services available to every person in the world,” Zuckerberg wrote last week in a post announcing the latest project.
“We’ve seen case study after case study of how even just a little bit of Internet connectivity (on mobile flip phones, even) can change the face of business and culture in very rural and impoverished areas.
“We"ve made good progress so far,” Zuckerberg continued in his post. “Over the past year, our work in the Philippines and Paraguay alone has doubled the number of people using mobile data with the operators we"ve partnered with, helping 3 million new people access the Internet.”
Internet.org has brought on tech companies from around the world and in many different spheres to help them reach Zuckerberg’s lofty goals.
“To make these platforms a reality we’ve recently added some of the world’s top experts on aerospace technology including the team from Ascenta, a UK-based company with a deep expertise in designing and building high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) aircraft,” according to a release from Internet.org.
The work from Ascenta will bring Internet connectivity to flying drones and satellites in orbit.
“The five-member Ascenta team has combined more than 100 years of experience in the aerospace industry including leadership positions with QinetiQ, Boeing, Honeywell and the Harris Corporation,” Internet.org’s post continues. “They have worked on noteworthy projects like the Breitling Orbiter and early versions of Zephyr, which became the world"s longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.”
The project is also bringing in help from NASA. The larger goal of connecting the globe to the web will necessitate creating new technologies, which is why Zuckerberg started the Connectivity Lab at Internet.org.
“We"re going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too,” Zuckerberg believes. “That"s what our Connectivity Lab focuses on, and there"s a lot more exciting work to do here.”
The team explores how different tech solutions can work for areas with varying populations, locations and income levels.