As part of its plan to connect billions of people who are still offline, Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported.
According to an application Facebook appears to have filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the name PointView Tech LLC, the project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday.
Facebook, however, is not alone in aiming to increase Internet accessibility through satellites in low Earth orbit. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are two other prominent names who have similar ambitions.
Facebook has been long working at making the internet accessible to the rest of the remote areas of the world but has been meeting with controversies ever since 2015 when Free Basics got prohibited in India in 2016. Facebook’s most recent endeavour was Aquila, the solar-powered drone that was supposed to provide internet connectivity to remote areas of the world. Facebook said that it will no longer build aircrafts as a lot of aerospace companies are already doing so but will continue to work towards the cost.
Athena has a tough road in front of it as being a low altitude satellites, its going to require a network of thousands of satellites to work which is going to both logistically challenging and high on the cost front.