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Facebook's WiFi Plane
By: Jessica Cherok
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Facebook has been working hard on making the Internet more accessible to everyone. Now their mission to do so includes bringing Internet access to places that have no network via plane.

Facebook and Connectivity Labs are working on a plane that can broadcast a WiFi connection to the area it’s flying in. The plane, which can stay in the air for months, is a high-altitude, long-range aircraft made by a UK-based company, Ascenta. Facebook recently purchased the company.

The plane isn’t the only high-tech Internet access experiment out there. Google has its Project Loon, which uses balloons creating a network to broadcast Internet connections at 3G speeds.

The WiFi plane flies at a higher altitude than commercial airliners, so it would not interrupt traffic patters while it provided Internet access to those below. In more remote areas, Facebook is reportedly looking into using infrared laser beams from satellites to create the network. That way, even the remote, mountainous areas could receive Internet connectivity.

These futuristic networks aren’t just for being social everywhere. They could have huge implications for disaster and crisis communications, which are largely inhibited by the lack of connectivity on the ground.

   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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