How Drones are the Future of Internet Access
This is part of the series “Drones are the Future” – a collection of posts outlining the positive impact UAVs will have on our world in the not-so-distant future.
Anyone in the Internet world that has to go without online access knows the angst that comes from not being able to post selfies to Instagram, tweet out our frustrations about our favorite sports team, or clear our debts using online bill pay. We take this amazing technology that gives us convenience, commerce, and information for granted.
However, approximately ⅔ of the world’s population still does not have access to the internet.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said “Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our time. When people have access to the Internet, they can not only connect with their friends, family and communities, but they can also gain access to the tools and information to help find jobs, start businesses, access healthcare, education and financial services, and have a greater say in their societies. They get to participate in the knowledge economy.”
Internet access for most of the world is provided through a carefully constructed telecommunication network. This infrastructure is made up of telecom and cable companies, wireless networks.
However, the cost, time and effort of running wires and creating new networks to all “unwired” regions of the globe is almost incomprehensible.
Internet Access Drones
Enter drones. Someday in the not so distant future, solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be able to hover high in the skies for months, even years, providing internet access to unwired areas. Inexpensive to build and almost free to maintain, internet-enabling drones will soar at heights that make that them virtually invisible. Such high-altitude drones will be unaffected by weather and turbulence.
Google & Facebook Want Drones
Both Google and Facebook are vying to be leaders in providing connectivity via drones. In April 2014, Google purchased dronemaker Titan Aerospace. Facebook followed suit by buying U.K.-based drone company Ascenta. Facebook teamed with Internet.org, a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing global Internet access, to publish a white paper labeled “Connecting the World from the Sky.”
In that white paper, the following diagram shows the relationship of internet-giving satellites & planes (drones).
Watch the following video from Internet.org that explains how companies like Facebook are working toward bringing internet access drones to life.
Additional Information and Resources
Image credit to Internet.org