Facebook tipped to buy drone firm to boost Africa internet
Social network in talks to splash out $60m on solar-powered drone startup, says report
Facebook is in talks to buy a solar-powered drone startup in what could lead to making wireless Internet available in regions without online access, according to technology news website TechCrunch.
TechCrunch cited an unidentified source as disclosing that the leading social network is considering buying Titan Aerospace for about $60 million.
Facebook declined to comment Tuesday on what it referred to in an email to AFP as “rumors and speculation.”
Titan Aerospace makes high-altitude, solar-powered drones that can fly for as long as five years without touching down.
Facebook-backed Internet.org, which has a stated mission of making online access available everywhere in the world, could put such drones to work as airborne wireless hotspots.
Aerospace Titan would start by making about 11,000 drones to fly above Africa and other parts of the world with minimal to no Internet access, according to TechCrunch.
Aerospace Titan was founded in 2012 and has its headquarters in the state of New Mexico where it handles research and development.
The takeover, if confirmed, would come as Google works on a Project Loon to spread Internet access using balloons.