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Facebook’s solar-powered internet plane Aquila permanently grounded

by Felix Omondi
facebook aquila

Facebook has stopped its ambitious plan of zapping down internet connection to underserved communities using a laser. The internet will be from a solar-powered plane flying at high altitude, but the social network has come to the realization that the project is just not practical.

Earlier critics of the projects were fronting using alternative means like connecting the underserved communities with fiber cables, but at the time, Facebook was hell-bent to see its ‘flying router’ come to fruition.

Though Facebook is shutting down the diving manning that project – High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) – it will still carry on (to some capacity) the R&D projects in partnership with Airbus. The continuing R&D will be for purposes of investing the potential of high altitude platform stations, even though the social network will not be fronting it as a solution to reach its ‘next billion’ users.

Going forward, 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,” said Facebook’s Yael Maguire.

On the policy front, we’ll be working on a proposal for 2018 World Radio Conference to get more spectrum for HAPS, and we’ll be actively participating in a number of aviation advisory boards and rule-making committees in the US and internationally.”

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