Facebook tests ‘Tether-Tenna’ for broadband

Tether-Tenna demonstrated
Yael Maguire, who heads the Facebook Connectivity Lab, shows off the Tether-Tenna system during Facebook’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, Calif. (Facebook Video)

Facebook is adding tethered helicopters known as “Tether-Tennas” to its toolkit for widening internet access around the globe, even in emergency situations.

The Tether-Tenna concept calls for sending a car-sized helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of feet up in the air, to provide connectivity in areas where wireless capacity has been lost due to a disaster or other emergency.

A tether keeps the copter anchored to the ground and provides the cable links for electricity and data, theoretically allowing the Tether-Tenna to stay on duty for months at a time.

“We call this a type of insta-infrastructure,” Yael Maguire, the head of the Facebook Connectivity Lab, said today during Facebook’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, Calif.

Get the full story on GeekWire.


By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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