Spreading the World Wide Web to cover all four corners of our world is no small challenge. Internet penetration has reached 60% of the world’s population in the last 2 decades but the first 60% was the easy bit. Low population density, infrastructure costs and the fact that the world is a really big place will conspire to make the last 40% far tougher than the first 60%.
Facebook this week revealed technology to help bridge the internet gap, the Aquila drone which is now completed and ready for testing. The carbon fibre flying wing is in essence a communications platform that will bring the internet to the hard to get to corners of the world.
The Aquila drones have a comparable wingspan to a Boeing 737 (140 feet) which allows them to slowly loiter at 90,000 feet for 90 days at a time, all while only weighing 880 just pounds. As the drone loiters at high altitude a laser based communication system beams the internet down to a base station to be distributed by ISP’s. The laser is capable of communications at 10 gigabits and can lock onto a target the size of a dime from 10 miles away. All round some very impressive technology designed to democratizing knowledge and ideas, and spread porn.