Facebook scraps secret plan to build a $500m satellite

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By Larry Banks

Facebook has apparently ditched its secret plans to build a satellite, according to recent online reports. The satellite would have cost an estimated $500 million, and its purpose was to provide cheap Internet access in the developing world. The price though, was apparently too high and the plan has been dropped, before it was even announced.

Facebook scraps satellite plans

Facebook has of course been looking at expanding Internet access, and its products, in emerging markets. Facebook.org is one of its key initiatives involving many lots of companies that would subsidise data costs in some countries.

However, not all of the company’s activities related in that area relate to Internet.org. For example, Facebook Lite was announced last week, a stripped-down app for Android that’s intended to make it easier and faster to access the social network when using low bandwidth connections.

And while Mark Zuckerberg had been using satellites to assist Internet.org, the cancelled program is apparently unrelated.

A report from The Information, based on “a person with direct knowledge of the project and a person briefed about it”, has said it would have been a geostationary satellite to provide Internet access to dozens of countries.

Facebook’s plans to improve web access in emerging markets could positively transform those countries, but there’s also a financial incentive for the social media company. By providing the means to access the web, it will have first access to new markets and billions more people.

SOURCE: Business Insider.

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