There are billions of people who are still offline. Facebook wants to connect with them that is why they are working on Athena, their own online internet satellite in 2019. According to an application Facebook appears to have filed with the US FCC (Federal Communications Commission) under the name PointView Tech LLC. The report said that – “The project is designed to efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world.” Therefore, Facebook wants to launch own internet satellite.
Though Facebook is not the only one having the ambition of internet satellite – Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are the two prestigious names having the same ambition. Facebook’s spokesperson stated –
“While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, we believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent.”
The company has expressed its interest in connecting the billions of people around the world who lack access to an affordable, quality internet connection. Though Facebook has not had much success with the earlier two projects.
Facebook began Aquila Project in 2014. The high-flying solar-powered drones Aquila’s main aim was to deliver internet to nearly 4 billion people in remote parts of the world. In 2017, the solar-powered drone successfully completed the second-full scale test flight. The company also discontinued a small helicopter drone project in 2017 that could replace cellular services in emergency situations.
The idea was to send a helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of metres up in the air to be able to tether to fibre and power lines in places where wireless capacity was compromised due to disasters or other factors.