Facebook pushing ahead towards thousands of internet delivering drones

Facebook solar powered internet delivering drones will have the wingspan of a jumbo jet and fly at 17 mile height. Facebook will create thousands of semi-autonomous drones the size of jumbo jets which will fly 17 miles above the Earth to provide wireless internet access to the four billion people currently unable to get online. They want to fly them for months and years at a time. The drones will need to rise above the weather, flying at between 60,000 and 90,000 feet – around 17 miles above the ground.

The aircraft will be “roughly the size of a commercial aircraft, like a 747” said Maguire, but they will be far, far lighter. One prototype currently being worked on is about the length of seven cars, but weighs the same as just four car tyres.

The planes will be tested at some point next year, somewhere in the US, and the company hopes to have them working and in operation over developing countries within three to five years. It has already chosen 21 locations around the world where it would like to deploy them, in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and is looking for charities to run the equipment once it is manufactured.

Google will have high altitude balloons starting next year for internet delivery and Google is also working on drones and satellites.

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