The company has confirmed it intends to launch its satellite in early 2019.
Some background: Last month, Facebook announced the end of its effort to develop Aquila, an autonomous drone that provides internet access.
The news: According to e-mails obtained by Wired from the Federal Communications Commission and a confirmation from the company, Facebook has shifted its focus to space. It’s now developing the Athena satellite for launch next year. It’s intended to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world.”
Why it matters: This puts Facebook in with a group of tech companies developing internet satellites, including SpaceX, Boeing, and OneWeb, a business backed by Softbank. Private companies like SpaceX (and its new Block 5 rockets) are providing increased access to satellite launches, making space-based internet a more feasible option. These companies are banking on space, rather than fiber-optic cables, being the key to providing a connection to hard-to-reach areas.
This story first appeared in our daily tech newsletter, The Download. Sign up here.
This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI
The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models.
Everything you need to know about artificial wombs
Artificial wombs are nearing human trials. But the goal is to save the littlest preemies, not replace the uterus.
Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist
An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.
Data analytics reveal real business value
Sophisticated analytics tools mine insights from data, optimizing operational processes across the enterprise.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.