Facebook shares are higher Wednesday after the tech firm said it has altered its plans for global internet provision and is closing its Aquila drone programme. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform said as tech has changed, it makes more sense to collaborate with others.
By 1545 BST, Facebook shares were 0.70% higher at $200.39. The stock has been moving broadly higher in recent weeks.
Facebook’s Aquila project
Facebook began its Aquila project in 2014 as a programme to help deliver the internet to remote areas through drone technology. The programme was ongoing for some four years and two successful flights were achieved.
Indeed, Facebook said the option to provide the internet from drone tech was affordable and a realistic option to help grow connectivity beyond traditional boundaries.
Google had a similar programme and at the time when they began their projects, they were among the only businesses making inroads into this area. However, fast forward to today and things have changed, a lot.
Aquila programme no longer necessary
Facebook says that while there are still some 4 billion people around the globe who don’t have access to the internet, a variety of industries are working on changing that. But, it has been decided that Facebook’s role in that broader provision of the internet would best be served without the Aquila programme.
After investing a lot of time, money and making discoveries through trail and error, Facebook is closing its UK Aquila facility in Bridgwater.
“Facebook, along with many other companies and governments, is investing heavily to address the three key barriers to getting everyone, everywhere online,” said Yael Maguire, a Facebook engineering director, in a post.
“Going forward, we'll continue to work with partners like Airbus on High Altitude Platform Sharing (HAPS) connectivity generally, and on the other technologies needed to make this system work, like flight control computers and high-density batteries,” Maguire said.