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Facebook to build web drones

Facebook is working on solar-powered drones to improve internet access around the world.

The social network has unveiled its new Connectivity Lab, which includes experts from Nasa and was described as working on "new aerospace and communications technologies".

The company's founder Mark Zuckerberg said: "We've been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky."

Yael Maguire, a director of engineering for the social network, said: "We're looking at a new type of plane architecture that flies at roughly 20,000m, because that's a point where winds are at their lowest.

"It's above commercial airliners, it's even above the weather, and actually it can stay in the air for months at a time. These planes are solar-powered and they sit there and circle around, and have the ability to broadcast internet down."

Mr Zuckerberg added: "We are also bringing on key members of the team from Ascenta, a small UK-based company whose founders created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world's longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. They will join our team working on connectivity aircraft."

The new project is an extension of the Internet.org group that Facebook helped found in 2013 along with other major technology companies like Samsung and Nokia, with the ultimate goal of bringing the internet to the parts of the world without access.

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