Social networking giant, Facebook, is said to be in acquisition talks with Titan Aerospace, a Texas based solar powered drone manufacturing company, with an aim of using its high-altitude autonomous aircraft to beam internet connections to Africa’s isolated communities.
According to Facebook, only 2.7 billion people in the world, equaling just over one-third of the total global population, have access to the internet today.
Being one of the main backers of the internet.org project, Facebook, with this move wants to offer internet connectivity to the five billion people who still don’t have an access to internet.
By using network of 11,000 high altitude drones that can stay in the air for five years at a time, the company wants to connect them all with internet coverage.
According to TechCrunch Facebook is interested in using the Solara 60 model, which is light-weight solar-powered drone and can fly at 65,000 feet for five years non-stop. This particular model is 60 metres wide and self-sufficient as it is covered in around 3,000 solar panels producing about 7 kW of electricity and can carry up to 100kg of equipment.
The social giant’s project will directly compete with Google’s ‘Project Loon’ which uses balloons to bring internet access to rural and remote areas of the world.
Although both the companies are yet to disclose anything about the deal, it is rumored that the deal could cost Facebook something around $60 million. Both Facebook and Titan Aerospace were unavailable for comment.