Future overlord of our post-apocalyptic world, Google (aka Skynet), is now testing a solar-powered drone designed to bring Internet connectivity to everyone. Code-named Project Skybender, the drones are currently based out of Spaceport America in a small town in New Mexico called Truth or Consequences (really). The drones are experimenting with millimeter-wave radio transmissions, which may lay the foundation for the next generation of wireless connectivity, 5G, capable of transmitting data up to 40 times faster than our current 4G networks.
The idea behind the project is not just to introduce a faster network, but also to beam the transmissions via thousands of autonomous drones that could theoretically deliver universal Internet all over the world. At the moment, there are over 4 billion people on Earth that do not have Internet access. Project Skybender isn’t the first effort to bring universal Internet to the masses, but it’s certainly the most ambitious.
Google has been at work for the last few years developing a high-altitude balloon system to provide Internet connections to remote areas of the world. The project has had some success, but the network used by the balloons is much slower than the proposed 5G speeds of Project Skybender.
There’s no guarantee that this project will work, but it’s a pretty interesting idea nonetheless. Since tests are just beginning, there haven’t been many details released yet, but hopefully we will hear some updates on their progress very soon.