Facebook’s Internet Drone Project Tether-tenna Called Off

The project was discontinued after being shown off at the F8 developer conference in May 2017.

Tech News
1 min read
Facebook’s Aquila drone. 

Facebook discontinued last year a small helicopter drone project that could temporarily replace cellular services in emergency situations, The Verge reported.

The project was discontinued after being shown at the F8 developer conference in May 2017, said the report on Monday.

Tether-tenna was a proof of concept project we were evaluating when we discussed it at F8 in early 2017.
Facebook Spokesperson

The idea was to send a helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of metres up in the air to be able to tether to fibre optics and power lines in places where wireless capacity was compromised due to disaster or other factors.

"It wasn't something we pursued further as we chose to focus our efforts on continued development and advancement of our Terragraph, millimeter-wave, and HAPS (high altitude platform station) programmes," the Facebook spokesperson added.

The Tether-tenna is, however, not the only aerial Internet project that Facebook has abandoned in recent times.  

In June this year, Facebook announced it decided to abandon its plan to develop a high-flying solar-powered drone called Aquila that was aimed to deliver Internet connectivity to nearly 4 billion people in remote parts of the world.

A high-altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila’s mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access, connect to all the opportunities of the Internet.

Facebook began the Aquila project in 2014. In 2017, the solar-powered drone successfully completed a second full-scale test flight. Tether-tenna was a much smaller scale idea compared to Aquila.

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