Facebook plans on launching its own internet satellite in 2019, according to a Wired report on Friday. Currently, many people connecting to the internet in remote places receive very slow and little connectivity, which results in a frustrating user experience, the report noted, but satellites like those Facebook is planning could help remedy that.
The new satellites from Facebook were confirmed via emails obtained from the Federal Communications Commission, said the report. Named Athena, the internet device will look like “constellations” in the earth’s orbit, continue the report.
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Facebook isn’t the first company with this idea, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and OneWeb have been exploring the idea of satellites as well. Read more about their efforts here.
Wired was able to confirm Facebook’s plan, according to the report. “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,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement.
Many broadband satellites have issues with high latencies, since they orbit the Earth at about 35,400km, but low-Earth orbits could give gigabit internet service similar to what is provided by fiber optic technologies, said Wired.
The main goal for these satellites is not only to provide connectivity to rural areas, but to also help remote employees, explained Wired. For employees who travel often or live away from work, the satellites could be the answer to strong, remote connectivity.
Currently, the plan is to only make one satellite for now, but more satellites could appear if they prove productive and successful to users.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Facebook is creating a new low-Earth orbit satellite to create more accessible internet connectivity.
- This connectivity from Facebook’s satellite could provide Wi-Fi to a lot of rural areas, and help remote employees work more efficiently wherever they are.