Facebook to test Solar plane based Internet services in India

Social networking giant Facebook is all set to test providing Internet services to users through solar-powered plane in India. After Google’s Project Loon which will use balloons to bring Internet to users, solar-powered planes is another of low cost high reach initiatives which Facebook hopes to develop.

This Internet through solar-based plane is a part of the bigger Internet.org project that Facebook is launching in India.

“We are really in development of technologies at connectivity lab. We are not yet launching any pilots. We will in the future, and we are entirely open to launching it in India because there is such a great opportunity in India to connect the unconnected,” Facebook Vice President of Internet.org Chris Daniels told PTI ..

Daniels stated that Facebook is working on alternate low cost internet delivery technologies other than traditional ways of providing connectivity including solar planes and satellites.

“The reason why planes are interesting is that you can have solar powered planes that stay very high in the sky and provide connectivity. Plane can have broad area. That plane can be fuelled by the sun, does not need to have generator or physical infrastructure on the ground. That’s potentially an attractive way through which we can provide connectivity,” he said.

By using solar-based planes to provide Internet access to Indian users, Facebook hopes to keep the cost of providing Internet very low.

Also as a part of its Internet.org launch, it has invited Indians to enter into a contest which can help it deliver Internet.org to remotest parts of the country.  Facebook has asked entries for its “Internet.org Innovation Challenge” and will award a massive $250,000 to the winners

One Innovation Challenge Award prize in the amount of $250,000 USD will be presented to the app, website or service that the judges determine best meets the needs of one of the four designated population categories: women, students, farmers and migrant workers (four awards total). Each of the Innovation Challenge Award winners will also be eligible to receive a package of tools and services worth up to $60,000 USD from Facebook’s FbStart program.

If you are interested in entering this contest, kindly visit Internet.Org Innovation Challenge page here.


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