According to multiple sources, Facebook plans to provide broadband service with a fleet of solar-powered drones. The Internet service won’t be available to most of us. Their goal is to provide Internet access to the two-thirds of the world that’s offline. In theory, the drones that Facebook are developing will use lasers to beam Internet access down to people in remote regions of the world. The drones are expected to fly autonomously for months at a time at an altitude of about 65,000 feet, which is above commercial airspace.
I have to admit, the idea sounds like something out of a science fiction book. Then again, scientists have made solar-powered planes before. For instance, the Solar Impulse flew for over 26 hours on a single trip. The plane used solar panels to charge up during the day, and batteries kept it flying at night. On the other hand, the Solar Impulse has a wingspan of over 200 feet, which is about the same size as an Airbus A340.