Facebook is rumoured to be in talks with Titan Aerospace in order to bring internet connectivity to people in the developing world.
Last week, TechCrunch reported that Facebook is interested in these satellite alternative drones that fly as high as 20km in altitude as part of its Internet.org initiative.
Titan Aerospace specialises in solar-powered, very high flying drones capable of staying airborne for five years at a time, positioned as a more cost-effective alternative to orbital satellites dubbed as “atmospheric satellites”.
A source told TechCrunch that Titan Aerospace would be fully committed to the Internet.org project post acquisition, and would start building 11,000 drones for the effort.
Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook will have long-term involvement with the Internet.org project and that it was willing to spend significant amounts of money without a likely return on investment in the near future.
“It’s easy to take for granted that most people have access to the internet, but only one third of the world, 2.7 billion people, currently have access to the internet,” said Zuckerberg in his MWC keynote. “We’re not on a path to connect everyone right now, unless something dramatic changes.”
Mobile internet data subscribers number in the 1.2 billion in developing nations, far outstripping the 357m fixed broadband connections in those same countries, meaning that mobile data outnumbers fixed broadband by over 3:1 in the developing world.