Facebook wants to buy drones to bring Internet to Africa

Mark Zuckerberg is a man of the people. Apparently the flip-flop enthusiast, gazillionaire philanthropist is looking to take the Internet into uncharted territory buy purchasing a drone company. TechCrunch has the details on the story surrounding Facebook's potential purchase of Titan Aerospace, a company known for building drones that can fly for five years without having to touch down.

From our understanding, Facebook is interested in using these high-flying drones to blanket parts of the world without Internet access, beginning with Africa. The company would start by building 11,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically the “Solara 60″ model.

Facebook is backing an effort by Internet.org to bring the Internet to corners of the globe currently disconnected from the cyberspace that most of us take for granted. These drones store enough solar power during the day that they're able to reach altitudes of 20 km above sea level. That's high enough for them to operate above regulated airspace.

The designation of “satellites” is important here, as the idea has been to position these aircraft above the airspace that the FAA regulates in the U.S. Class A airspace ends at 60,000 feet stateside, and above that the U.S. doesn’t regulate, Fortune had pointed outlast summer. That means the only issue in launching these in the U.S. would be the initial climb. In other parts of the world, the laws will, of course, vary. But in the developing markets Internet.org is focused on, it’s likely they’re not as far along in regulating such new technology.

Head on over to TechCrunch to read up on the deal and the plan to saturate the rest of the planet with inane status updates, cat videos, and over-used memes. [TechCrunch]