Reports: Facebook looks to buy solar drone company (Update)

Mar 04, 2014

Facebook is in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones, to step up its efforts to provide Internet access to remote parts of the world, according to reports from technology blog Techcrunch and financial news outlet CNBC.

Both websites cited anonymous sources who are familiar with the deal and put a purchase price at $60 million.

Facebook spokesman Tucker Bounds said Tuesday that the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. Titan Aerospace representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

If Facebook does buy Titan Aerospace, the purchase could fit with the goals of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org project. The Facebook-led partnership, which includes Qualcomm Inc., Samsung and Nokia, was launched last summer and aims to connect the more than 5 billion of the world's 7 billion people who are not already online. Presumably, Internet.org could use Titan's solar-powered atmospheric satellites to serve as airborne wireless access points.

Google Inc., which is not a part of the Internet.org effort, launched a similar undertaking earlier this year with the goal of getting everyone on Earth online. Called Project Loon, the effort launched Internet-beaming antennas aloft on giant helium balloons.

Titan's drone-like atmospheric satellites, which are still in development and not yet commercially available, can stay in the air for as long as five years, according to reports. Titan's website cites a wide range of uses for the drones, including atmospheric and weather monitoring, disaster response and voice and data communications. The last two could be reasons for Facebook's interest in Titan.

But Zuckerberg said last week at the Mobile World Congress wireless show that access connectivity is not the main obstacle to getting the world online. He said more than 80 percent of the world's population live in areas with 2G or 3G wireless access. More important, he said, is giving people a reason to connect: basic financial services, access to health care information and educational materials.

Facebook's acquisition of a company called Onavo last fall also fits with Internet.org's vision. Onavo develops data compression technology, which helps applications run more efficiently. This is especially important in developing countries, where people have access to much slower Internet speeds.

Explore further: Facebook throws in towel on email

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook aims to get the world online (Update 2)

Aug 21, 2013

Food, water and the Internet? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to get all of the world's 7 billion people online through a partnership with some of the largest mobile technology companies. He says the Web ...

Recommended for you

EU Parliament votes to break up Google

4 hours ago

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the break-up of Google Thursday in a largely symbolic vote that nevertheless cast another blow in the four-year standoff between Brussels and the US Internet ...

Toyota finds new air bag issue, recalls more cars

9 hours ago

Toyota Motor Corp. recalled more than 40,000 vehicles in Japan on Thursday as part of a worldwide scare over defective air bags and is investigating a new type of air bag problem that could lead to further recalls.

Netflix sues Yahoo CIO for alleged kickbacks

23 hours ago

Netflix is suing a former company vice president who is now chief information officer at Yahoo, accusing him of receiving money from vendors he hired to work with the video streaming company.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CapitalismPrevails
not rated yet Mar 04, 2014
How many billions of dollars are they going to pay for this acquisition?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.