Tech giants are attempting at transmitting Internet signals to remote parts of the world using aircraft deployed in atmospheric space.
The course of action could draw upon drones, satellites, high-altitude balloons, blimps or other flying machines.
With this end in sight, Google acquired Titan Aerospace this week, a maker of solar-powered drones. Titan’s drones are able to fly for five years at an altitude of some 65,000 feet (20,000 meters).
“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” said a Google spokesman.
A similar idea comes from Facebook, which last month unveiled its “Connectivity Lab” aimed at spreading the Internet with drones, satellites and solar-powered planes.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said recently that he sees a potential in drones because they “have more endurance than balloons, while also being able to have their location precisely controlled.”
“And unlike satellites, drones won’t burn up in the atmosphere when their mission is complete,” he added.
It, however, is not clear whether the atmospheric space would prove an accessible medium for Internet signals.
“It’s all very interesting but the technology is very unproven,” said Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies.
“People have played with it for years and it is not going anywhere,” said Jack Gold, analyst with J. Gold Associates.
“I don’t think it’s cost-effective for companies like Google and others to put up a thousand drones just to get people access.”
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