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Facebook sets out for a new lab for Internet delivery from drones

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Mark Zuckerberg has a plan for his vision to connect the 4 billion people out there that are not on the Internet. He is piecing this plan together by announcing on Thursday that he plans to use solar-powered drones and other ‘connectivity aircraft’ developed in his new lab with 50 aeronautics experts and space scientists to figure out how to accomplish this vision, posted in a New York Times article today.

He had accomplished the purchase of Onavo last October to work on compression of data via their apps developed for that task. WhatsApp was purchased in the $19 billion dollar deal much talked about in February and highlighted at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress.

Facebook’s announcement is to start with buying Ascenta, a British company whose founders developed a solar-powered drone, the Zephyr and flew it for two weeks in July 2010 to break a world record for time aloft. Drones have been a key part of the playbook of Internet.org.

The engineering talent to lead this task group to obtain Internet access from the sky is headed by Yael Maguire, engineering director for the new Facebook Connectivity Lab. Connection and cost reduction are two goals in this plan to reach the world through the Internet.

The new lab is the base for the vision to deliver compressed Internet data which can cut costs of mobile phones and reach out to people who can’t afford Internet connection. This is part of the Internet.org vision for this and the next decade.

Drones have the advantage of staying aloft months and years and can travel 12 miles above the earth. The ability to move above air traffic and changing weather for extended periods of time can help achieve that goal of the really hard to reach part of the planet states Maguire in explaining the logic of this plan.

Brian Blau, an analyst at the research firm Gartner states that, ‘the more I think about it-drones and virtual reality and the excessive amount of money they’re paying for WhatsApp- they’re making these decisions in lieu of having a solid business practice in place.’

Maguire is posting a video ad on Internet.org to recruit talent for this long range visionary project and states, ‘You’re not going to find that expertise in the traditional Internet-based communities. ‘We think the talent comes from elsewhere.’

To view more articles on Facebook related to this topic of technology and the Internet, view the list below in Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article on Zuckerberg's plan to connect the world with Internet.org.

Victoria Wagner@victoriaross888

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