FedBook and high altitude drones...what could go wrong?
Facebook is in Talks to Buy Drone Maker
March 5, 2014 12:26 a.m. ET
The battle to bring the Internet to remote parts of the world may be fought in the sky.
Facebook Inc. FB +2.06% is in advanced discussions to buy Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based maker of solar-powered drones, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Titan's TWI +3.62% drones, which are still in development, are expected to be able to remain in flight 12 miles high for up to five years, offering a potential solution for beaming broadband to areas that don't have it.
A Titan spokesman didn't respond to requests for comment. The news was reported earlier by TechCrunch and CNBC, which put a price tag of $60 million on the transaction.
A deal could further Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's ambition to connect more of the world. Last year, Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook launched Internet.org, a partnership with tech companies including Qualcomm Inc. QCOM +3.37% and Samsung Electronics Co., that aims to deliver Internet access to two-thirds of the world's population that doesn't already have it.
Google Inc. GOOG +1.02% has its own plan to beam Internet from high up in the earth's atmosphere, using balloons that would float in the stratosphere. The balloons are part of Project Loon, which is being developed by Google's skunk works lab, Google X. Google also has another initiative, Project Link, building fiber optic networks to help local Internet service providers deliver faster connection speeds. The first test of the Project was launched in Kampala, Uganda.