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article imageFacebook had a secret plan to build a $500m satellite

By James Walker     Jun 8, 2015 in Technology
A report has claimed that Facebook has been considering launching a satellite into orbit to help its plans to provide Internet access to developing countries. The secret plans were scrapped recently due to the prohibitive $500 million cost.
The news comes courtesy of Business Insider, citing a report in The Information. The report is said to suggest that Facebook was planning to build a geostationary satellite that would be launched into orbit to provide Internet access to "dozens" of countries.
The scheme would complement the firm's existing "" project which aims to make Internet access much more readily available to citizens of developing countries. It rivals similar efforts to make the Internet more accessible by companies such as Google and its ambitious "Project Loon" balloon-powered initiative.
The satellite would have expanded Facebook's development in the area, opening up new countries to the Internet by providing them with constant satellite access. But the report, apparently derived from information obtained from "a person with direct knowledge of the project and a person briefed about it," says that even Facebook could not justify spending $500 million on bringing the project to fruition.
It follows a similar withdrawal from Google who was also considering using satellites to deliver Internet to rural areas. Drones are now a popular favourite instead due to reduced operating costs and the ability to "move the Internet" to where it is most demanded at peak times.
It seems as though Facebook's secretive satellite has been shelved without ever having been publicly unveiled. Business Insider says that Facebook may still end up with some kind of satellite though as the Information's report apparently suggests that the social network is now considering leasing one from an existing provider, allowing it to pursue its aims at significantly reduced cost.
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