intro’d to Yael here via this article on internet dot org:
jan 2016 – inside plan to connect the world
Meanwhile, through a Google X–like R&D group called the Connectivity Lab, Facebook is developing new methods to deliver the net, including lasers, drones, and new artificial intelligence–enhanced software. Once the tech is built, a lot of it will be open-sourced so that others can commercialize it.
Skeptics see his mission as a play to colonize the digital universe. They question the hubris of an American boy billionaire who believes the world needs his help and posit that existing businesses and governments are better positioned to spread connectivity.
For Zuckerberg, Internet.org is more than just a business initiative or a philanthropic endeavor: He considers connecting people to be his life’s work, the legacy for which he hopes to one day be remembered, and this effort is at its core. Zuckerberg is convinced the world needs Internet.org. The Internet won’t expand on its own, he says; in fact, the rate of growth is slowing.
“There’s no way we can draw a plan about why we’re going to invest billions of dollars in getting mostly poor people online,” he tells me. “But at some level, we believe this is what we’re here to do, and we think it’s going to be good, and if we do it, some of that value will come back to us.”
perhaps there is…
As 2016 gets under way, Zuckerberg has named the Connectivity Lab’s work one of his three top priorities for the year. He plans to launch a satellite above sub-Saharan Africa by year’s end. The first drone test flights will happen shortly. And Facebook has developed new mapping software that takes advantage of AI-enhanced maps to better determine where people need their phones to work. An on-the-ground deployment team is making its way from Kenyan refugee camps to inland villages to hack together new methods for getting people online.
Hamid Hemmati ..soft-spoken Iranian immigrant had spent several decades figuring out how to help communications travel on lasers.
Yael Maguire, 40, an MIT Media Lab PhD and engineering director for the Connectivity Lab.
Zuckerberg wanted the lab to make bigger bets, to think about projects that might take a decade to mature but that could reshape what we know about how the Internet is powered. His rule is that Facebook should work on any project that has the potential to increase connectivity by a factor of 10 or to bring down the price of that connectivity by a similar factor.
Among the ideas that caught his imagination: data that travels by lasers, sent to Earth from drones. These invisible beams of light provide extremely high bandwidth capacity and are not regulated.
We’re trying to get Mark to understand: This isn’t writing code on a laptop and copying it over to a server. There’s, like, physical stuff. There’s chips and radios and high-powered lasers and planes that could fall out of the sky.”
Facebook’s most ambitious connectivity project is being developed in the small industrial town of Bridgwater, three hours west of London. ..
Cox, 53, is in charge of Aquila, Facebook’s passenger jet–sized unmanned aerial vehicle (aka drone). He’s a professorial mechanical engineer who, earlier in his career, built Disney’s Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster. More recently, he was part of the team that set the record for keeping a solar-powered UAV aloft for two weeks.
By the end of 2016, they aim to test a system that will work like this: A ground station will transmit a radio signal to a drone, which will send that signal to other drones via lasers. The fleet will beam those lasers down to transponders within about 30 miles of each craft. These will convert the signal into Wi-Fi or 4G networks. Facebook has not yet determined the data plan or pricing for this offering.
Right now the biggest challenge Aquila faces is regulatory. Facebook has joined with Alphabet (formerly Google) to address bureaucratic obstacles. Its competitor has its own drone effort, Project Titan, incubating under its Access and Energy division. (Project Loon, which aspires to beam the Internet from high-altitude balloons and is part of the Google X lab, is further along than either UAV endeavor and will test a partnership with several carriers in Indonesia this year.)
He concludes with a call to action, saying, “We have to ask ourselves, what kind of community do we want to be? Are we a community that values people and improving people’s lives above all else? Or are we a community that puts the intellectual purity of technology above people’s needs
Facebook responded by changing the name of its app from Internet.org to Free Basics.
from mar 2014 – Inventing the Future of Connectivity
we want to challenge all the assumptions to get global internet..
requires new innovations…
perhaps 7-8 billion working on it..
working on lazers of connecting… free space optics… high capacity data streams through air and between platforms..
april 2015 Delivering the Internet Via Drone…And Laser
Maguire oversees what Facebook calls its Connectivity Lab. With those lasers, satellites, and drones, he and his team of engineers are working to bring the Internet to all those people on Earth who don’t already have it. Think vast swaths of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The satellites and drones will beam signals down to these areas, using microwaves and maybe even those infrared lasers.
Facebook wants to “connect the unconnected,” says Maguire, pointing out that about two-thirds of the world’s population is not yet online. And this requires some new gear.