It’s raining internet. For the past few years Google has been testing technology that can deliver internet access to remote locations through hot air balloons. Now Facebook has built a solar-powered airplane that can do the same thing.
Facebook calls the its plane Aquila, and claims it can stay in the air for up to 90 days. It’s meant to circle areas where there’s no infrastructure in place to deliver internet access: no cables, telephone lines, or cell towers.
Aquila can beam the internet from heights of 60 thousand to 90 thousand feet using lasers that can deliver data to tiny receivers on the ground at “10s of Gb per second.”
Facebook doesn’t plan to operate its own wireless internet network. The company is instead developing the technology in the hopes that someone else will implement it to provide internet access in parts of the world where it’s not already available.
Google’s Project Loon balloons, meanwhile, are now ready to deliver internet access to the entire island of Sri Lanka.