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Facebook Communications Shark Social Networks The Internet Wireless Networking Technology

Facebook Successfully Tests Laser Internet Drones 59

rtoz writes: At its F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced the first hardware it plans to use to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world. Codenamed "Aquila," the solar-powered drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a small car. It will be powered by solar panels on its wings, and it will be able to stay at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time. Facebook says it'll begin test flights this summer, with a broader rollout over the next several years. The drones were tested over the UK recently, and everything worked as expected.
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Facebook Successfully Tests Laser Internet Drones

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  • uh huh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @09:28AM (#49353589) Homepage Journal
    "internet". yeah right. You're not fooling anybody Zuckerberg.
  • too much crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eedwardsjr ( 1327857 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @09:28AM (#49353595)
    So I assume we can expect this airspace to become cluttered like LEO satellite space? The only exception is when these crash, they come down when I high risk of killing people.
  • I gotta say, a private corporation like Facebook, flying solar powered communications drones using lasers ... that's more than a little creepy.

    Welcome to the dystopian future, kiddies.

    Shit's all down hill from here.

  • by Bonzoli ( 932939 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @09:36AM (#49353667)
    Please boost my stock, we are out of useful ideas.......

    Do you think anyone that needs the internet beamed to them in this crap will be a useful paying customer? The cost of a laden swallow, gripping it by the husk, vs energy costs, repair, maintenance, and insurance will certainly make this in the end, what it appears to be now.
    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      The cost of a laden swallow, gripping it by the husk

      Maybe two swallows could do it ?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do you think anyone that needs the internet beamed to them in this crap will be a useful paying customer?

      The people receiving internet access (which will be free access to Facebook, and their partners, with optional pay service to access anything else -just like the free access wikipedia provides in some areas of the world) are not the customer -they are the product. Captive eyeballs for advertising, with full tracking of their usage and interests sold to marketers everywhere.

  • by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @09:36AM (#49353669)
    Mod me down into oblivion if you must, but not everyone lives in Seoul, Tokyo, Stockholm, or NYC with insanely fast fiber optics.

    This is going to be great for people in rural areas, developing countries, and others who otherwise would remain hostages to the poor reliability and high latency of radio and satellite internet.
    • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @10:59AM (#49354389) Homepage Journal

      No, they should mod you up. It is easy to write snarky and cynical comments... they can generate them without having to RTFA. Obviously Facebook makes its money on eyeballs / participants. Why can't this just be a win-win? By expanding access to higher speed internet, Facebook increases its potential market. What's the difference between that and increasing distribution of any product a segment of the marketplace needs?

      The USA Highway system was built in part by the distribution needs of corporations. But we are all free to drive our cars and motorcycles on it. Should we not have built the roads because a corporation was going to profit from it? It's called "development".

      • The USA Highway system was built in part by the distribution needs of corporations. But we are all free to drive our cars and motorcycles on it. Should we not have built the roads because a corporation was going to profit from it? It's called "development".

        The highway system in the United States was built by the government for use by anyone, whether they're commercial entities or individuals. While companies may have gotten more direct benefit than individuals, all companies benefited, and individuals got the indirect benefits from all companies.

        Will Facebook's drones be providing connections to the Internet, or just connections to Facebook?

    • This is going to be great for people in rural areas, developing countries, and others who otherwise would remain hostages to the poor reliability and high latency of radio and satellite internet.

      Zuckbook will never give us great unwashed unfettered Internet access, but only a one way trip into the bidding paddock for advertisers to assess us - the product - a monetary value.

      And to think FB will not be vending everyone out to all the state security organs of the world for 30 Ag is utter cluelessness.

    • by jaxn ( 112189 )

      I catch your drift, but actually fiber to residents in NYC is not easy to come by. The surrounding areas are a different story (Long Island, Westchester, etc).

      Verizon left the city for last, in their deal with the State of NY, which allowed tthem to circumvent all local laws/ordinances, for competition and right of way, so they could cheaply, quickly build out their high speed fiber optic network (for FIOS service). When they covered all the areas they wanted, it left little time for NYC, which was likely

  • April Fools is still five days away.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @10:06AM (#49353891) Homepage

    to beam the Internet down

    *The internet in accordance with local and national regulations pertaining to censorship and surveillance.

    to billions of people around the world.

    Some restrictions apply, billions of people will be considered based on race, gender, social position and annual income as potential revenue factors when subscribing or continuing to use the product. underfunded schools and desolate post-capitalist urban areas wracked by systemic unemployment and without adequate starbucks will be avoided. Remember: you are the product, the drone is merely another way to deliver that product to consumer affiliate corporations.

    • billions of people will be considered based on race, gender, social position and annual income as potential revenue factors when subscribing or continuing to use the product

      No they won't. Facebook wants to say X% of the world is on Facebook. This is to boost marketshare, not money.

      The argument to the stock market is then, X/2% led to a market cap of Y. X% should lead to a market cap of 2Y.

      It's just the way motivations are aligned when "users" and "active users" are metrics given real importance.

    • by jaxn ( 112189 )

      I envision advertising in browser, kind of like NetZero dialup in the day except this will be achieved through DNS hijacking and http injection. Now they can target their ads to users no matter what they're doing on the web, whether they are paying for ad space on a site or not.

  • by HBI ( 604924 )

    What if I don't want an unmanned fixed wing aircraft loitering over my head for months, just waiting to have a catastrophic mechanical failure and kill me randomly?

    • I'd be more concerned about a catastrophic software failure. Modern drone autopilots have fairly astounding limp home ability, you ought to be able to crash them in predefined locations fairly reliably. Unless, of course, something goes batshit with the electronics and/or software...

    • by frisket ( 149522 )
      Not to mention that these things don't fly at the speed of a jetliner -- they barely limp along, and they don't fly very high, either. It won't be long before people in areas where guns are freely available will be using the drones for target practice.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/15/03/27/1225228/broadband-isp-betrayal-forces-homeowner-to-sell-new-house
    These drones will be the only way this guy will get broadband at his new house.

  • by Pascoea ( 968200 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @10:55AM (#49354335)
    "Laser Internet Drones" Am I the only one that read this as a really good way to prevent trolls on Facebook?
  • by asylumx ( 881307 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @11:01AM (#49354395)
    I have not clue how this relates to their business model, but more power to them anyway. I hope society learns a lot from experiments like this -- will its solar panels really supply enough power? At 60k feet they can cover a humungous land area, which potentially means millions of customers. I can't imagine the power consumption of laser communication between this unit and all of the potential customers. Can this really cover an area that big or is it just flying that high to stay out of flight levels of commercial aircraft?

    So many questions that this experiment might be able to answer.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have not clue how this relates to their business model

      I will take a guess about that.. they want to tap into 3rd world markets, it is a race to be the dominant player.
      By giving interweb tubes to the whole planet, they can increase market value of their own business.
      The third world is a extremely large untapped market.

  • by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @11:16AM (#49354523) Journal
    Do not look at Internet with remaining good eye.
  • ... are back. And now you can't ignore them.

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic sear
    • Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic sear

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