Facebook Joins Race To Launch Satellites For Broadband ConnectivityFacebook headquarters at 1, Hacker Way, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, California (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Social media behemoth Facebook has become the latest tech company to join the low-cost internet provider’s bandwagon. As per a report by Wired, Facebook has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the company name PointView Tech to launch its satellite Athena in early 2019. According to the filing, the Palo Alto-based company aims to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world”.

Facebook now joins the ranks of Softbank-funded OneWeb and Elon Musk’s Starlink to set up a satellite-based low-cost broadband connectivity project.

While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, 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.
Facebook’s statement on Athena

Facebook’s previous attempts at providing low-cost internet however have been mired in controversy. Starting with its 2013 project Internet.Org and the subsequent successor Free Basics, Facebook has tied up with service providers to offer free access to select websites. However, proponents of Net Neutrality have harshly criticised both offerings, claiming it created a “two-tiered” internet that further aggravated the divide between developing and developed article.

Apart from satellites, Google’s Loon aims to provide internet connectivity using high-altitude balloons.

Also Read: How SpaceX Plans To Use Cubesats To Provide Cheap Internet Across The Globe

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