Facebook Looks to Drones, Google to Balloons for Internet Expansion

(The Solara 50 drone from Titan Aerospace is seen in a company photo.)Credit: Titan Aerospace

Facebook, which may be looking to provide Internet services through aerial wireless hotspots, is buying drone maker Titan Aerospace which produces aircraft that that can operate for years without refueling, according to a report.

Tech Crunch on Monday cited an unnamed source who said the price of the purchase is $60 million. Facebook said on Tuesday it does not comment on "rumors and speculation," according to Agence France Presse.

Facebook could make use of these drones to serve as wireless hotspots in high altitude. Theproject could also boost Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's present project – Internet.org, an effort to bring Internet to everyone, especially in some parts of the world where people are still offline.

Titan Aerospace describes the drones in its company website as atmospheric satellite platforms that provide customers access to high resolution photos of the earth, voice and data services and other atmospheric-based sensor systems.

One of the company's drones has reportedly stayed alof for five years at an altitude of 65,000 feet. The plane was unveiled last year at a trade show for unmanned planes.

Facebook's purchase of Titan Aerospace would come as rival Internet services company Google also looks to expand its offerings.

Google, which runs its own high-speed Web services through Google Fiber, recently announced its Google Balloons initiative, named Project Loon, which aims to send balloons into space to bring the Internet services to more people. Google is currently working with municipal governments across various U.S. cities to lay pipes and dig trenches to deliver fiber optic services.

Running web services and delivering ads are major businesses for Facebook and Google, with both companies seeking to expand profitability by increasing access to the Internet.

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