Last month when Facebook acquired messaging application WhatsApp for $19 billion, one of the theories was that the app would play a large part in the Facebook-backed “Internet.org” initiative, which aims to provide affordable Internet connectivity to people in developing and disadvantaged regions of the world.
Now, according to TechCrunch, Facebook is in talks to acquire a company called Titan Aerospace, a company that makes solar-powered drones that can fly for several years without needing to land. The belief is that Titan Aerospace’s aircraft could be used to provide some level of Internet access to any locale in the world.
TechCrunch speculates that such Internet provided by Facebook may deliver a very weak Internet connection, but could be just enough to allow people to use a simple app like WhatsApp to send messages and view status updates. It’s theorized that another recent Facebook acquisition — Onavo, a company that developed data compression technologies — could also be part of the mix of this initiative.
The report from TechCrunch suggests that the purchasing price for Titan Aerospace could be in the area of $60 million, which might seem like a low number given the $19 billion paid for WhatsApp. If the theories of Internet.org eventually delivering connectivity worldwide play out, this small acquisition on Facebook’s part could be a pivotal step in transforming many societies.