About five billion population, of the seven existing in the world, is yet to be connected to the Internet. Various companies are working towards bringing more of them to the connected world, with the simple logic that more people connected, will bring them more business.
Google has been working on Project Loon for about a year, which provides fast internet to remote areas through balloons placed in the stratosphere. The project experiments have been carried out in New Zealand and in California with encouraging results.
Facebook has also announced a separate arm, Internet.org, to work in this area. They will be using drones and solar powered aircraft, termed connectivity aircraft, to make the internet accessible in remote areas. Zuckerberg has announced that, “Our team has many of the world’s leading experts in aerospace and communications technology, including from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center. Today we are also bringing on key members of the team from Ascenta, a small UK-based company whose founders created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world’s longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. They will join our team working on connectivity aircraft.”
Between the aircraft and the user, data is transmitted through light using invisible, infrared laser beams.
Internet.org has announced partnerships with the Rwandan government, Nokia, edX, Airtel, Ericsson, and Unilever for the project, focusing on several inaccessible areas. Airtel and Unilever are participating in providing information access in rural India.
Here is a video explaining the initiative….