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Facebook's latest internet-beaming drone is a tiny tethered helicopter

22 April 2017

Later, the team achieved 36 gbps over the same link, which Maguire said beat Facebook's own world record.

In San Jose, California, Facebook has worked with the cityto launch a first-of-its-kind at-scale deployment to test its system's capabilities in the city's downtown corridor.

Millimeter wave technologies, which is what connects Aquila to a station on the ground, continues to provide faster data speeds, Facebook said.

These efforts come from Facebook's Connectivity Lab, part of Internet.org, working on projects to get the next billion people online.

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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg told the crowd at the company's annual global developer conference, F8, that a team in Arizona was now preparing for the second flight of Aquila.

Unveiled at its F8 developer conference, the Mark Zuckerberg-led social network said the helicopter, known as the "Tether-tenna", would provide internet access and could be deployed for months in the case of an emergency. But Facebook says it could eventually be deployed for months at a time, providing connectivity while a community rebuilds itself.

The tethered helicopters will fly "a few hundred feet from the ground" and transmit a wireless signal to a broader area. Toward that end, Facebook developed what it calls "Tether-tenna". During testing, it has operated for up to 24 hours, continuously.

"Our ability to build communities at Facebook depends on people being connected".

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"This is still in the early stages of development and lots of work is needed to ensure that it will be able operate autonomously for months at a time, but we're excited about the progress so far", Maguire stated.

In the past year, Facebook has attempted to make internet accessible for all.

Much of the Internet connectivity infrastructure is now owned by telecom companies. "Rather than look for a one-size-fits-all solution, we are investing in a building block strategy - designing different technologies for specific use cases which are then used together with partners to create flexible and extensible networks", Maguire writes.

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