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Not satisfied with trying to sign every person on earth up for its social network, Facebook nearly built and launched its own satellite into space. The plan has since been scrapped according to a report from The Information. Had Facebook pursued the plan, it would have sunk nearly $1 billion into the initiative.
Facebook’s intention for the satellite was to provide internet access to developing nations, blanketing Africa and other continents in connectivity. The service would have been designed to be accessible and affordable, but was eventually abandoned because it would have been cost-prohibitive for the company to pursue.
The social networking giant isn’t alone in its decision to step back from the outer edges of the earth’s atmosphere; Google also recently pulled back on its investment in satellites, which were one of several options the company has explored or providing internet access.
There are alternative options on the table that appear to be more affordable for the time being. Both Google and Facebook have experimented with drone-delivered internet projects. Google is also experimenting with Project Loon, its internet network provided by balloon.
Expanding internet access has become one of Facebook’s largest pet projects. The company leads the Internet.org initiative in an effort to create the necessary infrastructure for the web and subsidize the cost of getting people online. Facebook recently released a stripped-down version of its primary mobile app—called Facebook Lite—aimed at users in areas of the world where high-speed connections still do not reach.
AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.