Facebook in Talks to Deploy Aquila in India

Facebook now is in initial talks with Indian telecom companies and the government to create pilot programs using the new Facebook Aquila unmanned aerial vehicles for internet backhaul for mobile towers in remote areas.

Telcos that don’t find it feasible to create the infrastructure for internet services in rural areas can use Facebook’s Aquila as a platform to deliver mobile broadband. Once such a service generates adequate demand, the operators could build their own infrastructure and the Aquila planes can be moved to another location, argues Robert Pepper, Facebook’s connectivity public policy director.

Aquila can help mobile operators, in other words, by matching investment to demand.

Aquila could be used to provide internet in areas where the national optical fibre network (NOFN), renamed Bharat Net, hasn’t reached.

Aquila is a backhaul mechanism only, and cannot provider retail mobile access, a fact that makes Aquila a natural partner for retail mobile operators, functioning as a supplier of backhaul, like a regional optical fiber transport company.

But Aqulia is not a fixed asset. It can be moved from place to place, meaning it is an ideal asset for providing backhaul to areas where immediate deployment of optical fiber backhaul is not economically feasible.
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