Facebook confirms interest in satellite broadband

July 23, 2018 | 10:56

Tags: #broadband #developing-nations #project-athena #rural-broadband #satellite #satellite-broadband

Companies: #facebook #google #spacex

Facebook has all-but confirmed a long-rumoured project to launch a privately-owned satellite for next-generation broadband connectivity, being developed under the codename Athena.

Part of a series of broadband connectivity initiatives underway at the social media giant, including an effort to design and about autonomous drones which was recently shuttered in favour of off-the-shelf technology, news of the Athena project broke earlier this year. At the time, Facebook wasn't ready to announce anything - but the company has now broken its silence and confirmed that it does, indeed, have a focus on satellite communications for broadband connectivity, though has stopped short of confirming that it plans to launch a satellite of its own for that purpose.

Speaking to Wired, a Facebook spokesperson explained that '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,' though stated that they had 'nothing to share about specific projects at this time.'

Facebook isn't the only internet-focused company investigating satellite broadband technology: Google has been rumoured to have a satellite service of its own in the planning stages since 2014, while controversial billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX business has already begun deploying a satellite network of its own.

Thus far, though, Facebook has not been willing to release details of the Athena project, nor when - or even if - such a satellite network could go live for public use.

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