Facebook launches Connectivity Lab as part of internet.org project

28 Mar 2014

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Facebook has officially launched its Connectivity Lab, which will feature a team of scientists and developers working on aerospace and communication technology for the social network’s internet.org project.

The project intends to connect the entire world to the internet through various means that could bring the web to some of the most remote places on the planet.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that with the aide of satellites, flying drones and lasers, the wider world will begin to move away from the cumbersome masts that require millions of dollars worth of planning, organisation and maintenance.

Earlier this month, Facebook entered discussions with drone manufacturers Titan Aerospace about a potential takeover, with the view of launching 11,000 solar-powered drones that would circle the Earth’s skies and beam down internet signals for total coverage.

Facebook has also recently purchased aerospace start-up Ascenta and its five-person team, which has previously worked with some of the world’s largest aerospace companies, such as Boeing and Honeywell.

“We’ve made good progress so far,” said Zuckerberg in his statement. “Over the past year, our work in the Philippines and Paraguay alone has doubled the number of people using mobile data with the operators we’ve partnered with, helping 3m new people access the internet.

“We’re going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology, too. That’s what our Connectivity Lab focuses on, and there’s a lot more exciting work to do here.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic