Facebook Confirms It’s Working On A New Internet Satellite – Athena

In today’s world Internet is a big thing, it has payed a vita role in cutting down the long distances and bring people closer and closer every day. But still there are around 4.4 billion people on this planet who have never been yet online.

We can’t image the kind of progress does internet can bring, if every person in this world start using it. Many companies like Google and Facebook has came with many different plan to provide internet access in remote regions.

Google has started there Project Loon which works on providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. Whereas in 2016 Facebook started Internet.org which provide free access of some websites. Project Loon is in progress, but Facebook has to shut down the  Internet.org as critics complained that Free Basics created a two-tiered internet, further exacerbating the digital divide between developed and developing nations.

But we all know Facebook know for connecting people and company haven’t give up on there attitude. According to a FCC documents uncovered by Wired, the social network giant is working on a new satellite project. This satellite that could beam internet down to Earth using millimeter wave radio signals.

The document revealed that the social network wants to launch its very own internet satellite — the Athena. Facebook is looking to launch the satellite in early 2019. The satellite will be designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world.

Currently Fiber Optics Cable are the best and main source of providing internet, but they are too expensive and in some region it is not even possible to lay down a network of Fiber Optics Cables due to geographical conditions. Therefore many technology companies believe that the future of the Internet is orbital.

“The challenge with satellite internet today is really affordability—being cost-competitive with cable or other fiber distribution,” says Kerri Cahoy, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.

This multi-million dollar experimental satellite from the company called PointView Tech LLC. Facebook may soon join SpaceX and OneWeb in the rush to deliver Internet from orbit. SpaceX aims to put nearly 12,000 Starlinks into low Earth orbit (LEO), to deliver gigabit-speed Internet to most of the Earth’s surface.

Rival OneWeb, funded by Japan’s SoftBank, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and chipmaker Qualcomm plans similar global coverage using perhaps 2,500 LEO satellites. Facebook satellite, named Athena, aims to deliver data 10 times faster than SpaceX’s Starlink Internet satellites.

It’s not a first time that Facebook is planning to launch a satellite. The social network was supposed to launch an internet-beaming satellite for parts of Africa in 2016, but lost it when SpaceX’s rocket exploded during a test.

Implementation of this satellite in outside world will not only provide the benefits of internet to remote regions, but it will also boost the Facebook growth. With more than 2 billion users, the company will have to find inventive ways to reach new audiences if it wants to keep growing.

It’ll be interesting to see how Facebook mange this project. While there is nothing reveled specific about the projects and not even the launching date of the satellite.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, he told CNET  —“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”.

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