Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Facebook is creating an internet satellite

July 23, 2018

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.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

How to opt out of Meta’s AI training

Your posts are a gold mine, especially as companies start to run out of AI training data.

Why does AI hallucinate?

The tendency to make things up is holding chatbots back. But that’s just what they do.

How a simple circuit could offer an alternative to energy-intensive GPUs

The creative new approach could lead to more energy-efficient machine-learning hardware.

How gamification took over the world

Gamification was always just behaviorism dressed up in pixels and point systems. Why did we fall for it?

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.