Facebook’s bold plan to ship web to billions by plane has been placed on the again burner.
The social community big was constructing drones underneath the undertaking title Aquila that might transmit web sign whereas flying. Despite a number of profitable flights, Facebook is looking time on constructing its personal drones and can flip its consideration to forming partnerships with different firms—resembling Airbus.
In a weblog publish on Tuesday night time, Facebook engineering director Yael Maguire stated excessive altitude platform station (HAPS) programs would require “more than just an aircraft.
“As we have labored on these efforts, it has been thrilling to see main firms within the aerospace business begin investing on this know-how too—together with the design and building of latest high-altitude plane,” Maguire said. “Given these developments, we have determined to not design or construct our personal plane any longer.”
Maguire confirmed the corporate’s design headquarters in Bridgwater, England, will shut. Newsweek understands Facebook held discussions with Bridgwater workers about transferring however none have been . Facebook wouldn’t reveal particulars on redundency packages.
“We’ll continue to work with partners like Airbus on HAPS connectivity generally, and on the other technologies needed to make this system work, like flight control computers and high density batteries,” Maguire stated.
The Project Aquila drone weighs the identical as a grand piano (about 1,000 kilos) and flies at simply 80 miles per hour. It has a wingspan much like a Boeing 737 and runs off solar energy—which it additionally shops in batteries for night time flying.
Facebook claimed Aquila required 5,000 kWh of energy to take care of flight at 60,000 ft—the identical energy wanted to run three hair dryers. When flying, it beams an web sign over an space 60 miles in diameter.
In 2013, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg launched web.org, a wise telephone and pill app which provided free entry to a number of websites on the web, together with Facebook, AccuWeather and Google Search. It was designed for growing international locations the place the price of web is simply too nice for shoppers.
Facebook claims greater than 4 billion individuals on the planet wouldn’t have entry to web, primarily due to the excessive value.
Facebook—who had partnered with six tech firms together with Samsung, Qualcomm and Nokia—was open to builders constructing content material for web.org, offered they met three standards:
- Give entry to the complete web.
- Require little information utilization (to maintain prices low for carriers.)
- Work on as many units as attainable.
Speaking in 2015, Zuckerberg stated, “everyone is welcome” to hitch web.org. “It’s not exclusive to any mobile operator or company. We had to start somewhere so we launched with partners who wanted to work with us on this mission to connect the world. We’ll work with anyone who wants to join us. Facebook doesn’t even show ads on internet.org.”
Despite signing carriers from greater than a dozen international locations to embrace web.org, Facebook’s Free Basics service was blocked in key market India in 2016 as a result of it was seen as a violation of the nation’s internet neutrality laws.