Social media titan, Facebook, may potentially add 4 billion users to its portal. How? By flying a high-altitude unmanned drone, capable of transmitting broadband signals to areas lacking, or with, limited internet access.

That’s potentially a lot of unique voices, that may serve as a gigantic expansion of Zuckerberg’s customer base, almost as great as a catchy corporate video production featuring a bird’s view of hidden gems inaccessible to humans.

Internet access is a perk taken for granted for most of the first-world-borne; to satisfy the new-age internauts’ restless need to always be connected, broadband towers are always beaming wifi signals into smartphones: powering many portals with distinct interactive video production. But this broadcasts method may soon be an outdated model of communicating.

Facebook’s new venture is called Aquila: a solar-powered airplane that will be capable of beaming internet to people living in the most remote areas of the globe. It’s worth noting, that this is not a small-scale drone found on most tech sites dealing in spyware — this aircraft has the wingspan of an airliner.

The first test model flew for about 90 minutes, providing an efficient way to judge aerodynamics, batteries, control systems, and crew training. According to Jay Parikh, Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure at Facebook, “When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet using laser communications and millimeter wave systems.”

It may be hard to believe, but there are still about 4 billion people without access to internet on our planet. And 1.6 billion of those people tend to live in remote locations, into which broadband signal cannot reach. Building an information infrastructure in the Sahara Desert or on secluded mountains may not be possible, but this minor hitch did not deter the engineers working for Connectivity Lab at Facebook to find a way around this setback.

The goal is to control a fleet of Aquilas flocked together at an altitude of 60,000 feet, while flying for several months without the need of landing. The project needs good branding and identity videos, to accelerate the likes on social media channels, as there is some scepticism about a conglomerate such as Facebook, providing and controlling internet access.

A limited version of internet-light may not be helpful in developing and rural countries without strong governmental and corporate oversight. And millions of individuals who would be using the Internet for the very first time could fall prey to manipulation and misinformation, by third-parties, hackers or any other scammers shifting through the netsphere. With no adequate educational institutions, there would be no voice of reason reminding first-time Internet users of critical thinking, while providing the skills and the understanding of digital tools and traps prevalent on the net. Soon, there may be a need for some informative videos made with solid video production in many languages, tvo inform and protect future minds.

Author: Tomasz Juszkiewicz