I knew a guy about 20 years ago who was going to get some surplus RPVs from A Government Agency and set up cell phone repeaters on them to provide service in Africa and other infrastructure-challenged areas. These things could stay up a week or two, orbiting at 70k ft+, above most of the weather (you can figure out what their mission was for The Government Agency). Not sure whatever became of it, but he had run the numbers and it looked pretty good.


On 7/30/15 3:00 PM, Andrew Strasfogel via Mercedes wrote:

Speaking of drones:

MENLO PARK, California (AP) — Facebook says it will begin test flights
later this year of a solar-powered drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 737,
the next stage of its campaign to deliver Internet service to remote parts
of the world.

Engineers at the giant social network say they've built a drone with a
140-foot wingspan that weighs less than 1,000 pounds. It will use lasers to
send Internet signals to stations on the ground.

The project is part of a broader effort by Facebook that also contemplates
using satellites and other high-tech gear to deliver Internet connectivity
to hundreds of millions of people living in regions too remote for
conventional service.

Facebook rival Google is experimenting with high-altitude balloons and
satellites in a program that has similar goals.


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