MENLO PARK, California — 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.