How will poor countries with little modern infrastructure get Internet access? Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) may be about to buy the company that’s come up with the answer.
The social networking giant has entered into talks to buy drone-making company Titan Aerospace for around $60 million, TechCrunch reports. Titan has just launched its Solara 50 and 60 models. Either solar-powered drone can be launched and used at night because a battery pack stores energy until the sun rises.
What’s more, the solar-powered drone can fly continuously for up to five years, Titan says. Facebook's idea is to use the technology to beam the Internet down to people on the ground who can, presumably, see how many times they’ve been poked.
Titan was founded in New Mexico in 2012 and primarily classifies its drones as satellites. This allows the company to circumvent Federal Aviation Administration rules on drones, which do not allow use above 400 feet. The idea would be to fly the aircraft above 60,000 feet, where FAA regulations end, but getting them at that altitude while still in U.S. airspace may be the difficult part. Titan CEO Vern Raburn concedes that other countries may have different rules that his company may have to work round, but given that this technology is meant for emerging economies, it’s unlikely they will have regulations in place.