字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Of all the planets in the universe that we know of, the Earth is the only one with WiFi. Also breathable oxygen. So count your blessings. Hey there denizens of the internet, Jules here for DNews. Unless you're somehow watching this on a bootleg flea market DNews DVD, you are in the top 40%, congratulations! I'm talking, of course, about people who have internet access around the world. But unlike you lucky internet pioneers, there are another 4.3 billion people on the planet, who either have no way of accessing the web, or can't afford to. In fact, while Europe has a connection rate of about 75%, in Africa, that number is closer to just 20%. So, a few technology companies have tried to bridge that gap. First up was Google, which began testing its program in 2013. Google's suggestion? LTE equipped balloons. If sending WiFi capable balloons into the sky sounds like the ravings of a lunatic, well, you're not the only one. Which is why Google dubbed the project “Loon.” Well that and it's the last four letters of “balloon.” And a Loon is a kind of bird. Sometimes those Googlers are a little too clever. Obviously there are some inherent challenges to using balloons. Early tests had helium leaks which brought the balloon back down to Earth after just a day or two. Current R&D is focused on keeping balloons up for a hundred days or more, and its going pretty well. Another problem is that balloons are not known for being easy to control, that string they're attached to doesn't really take directions. So Google's plan to control the balloons is to take advantage of the stratified winds at different altitudes by raising and lowering the Loon as high as 20km. With a network of hundreds of balloons all being monitored by a command center Google thinks they can create uninterrupted wireless coverage. Plus, the balloons are solar powered. And if you're worried about losing internet at night when you're trying to netflix and chill, don't worry, the solar panels charge up a battery to keep the chilling happening all night. Not to be outdone, Facebook is trying to deliver all your favorite cat videos by drone. The drone, named Aquila, which is latin for Eagle because everything's got to be a bird reference, is a giant flying solar powered wing. The Aquila will use an infrared laser that pulses on and off billions of times a second to transmit data instead of sending it over radio frequencies the way WiFi does. It's kind of like a fiber optic cable but without the cable. Basically facebook will literally beam memes. And if you're into beans, it'll beam bean memes. But there's a problem. Wings only work when air is flowing over them, so, the drones need to keep moving. And since they're solar powered, it would be inefficient to store energy for the motors to use at night. Facebook tackles both these problems by having the drone gain altitude during the day and gently drift down at night. Using this technique, an Aquila can stay in the air for 90 days. Its altitude will vary between 18 and 27 km, at least 6 km higher than commercial aircraft. Facebook's Aquila will transmit a limited internet service called “free basics”, which provides forecasts, job searches, and news for free. But, obviously, nothing is really “free”. Free basics has been accused of violating net neutrality because it limits access to Facebook's competitors. India actually banned the “free basics” app on those grounds in February this year. Even the balloons have strings attached, hmm. Google controls almost 2 thirds of the search engine market, and an influx of new users means an influx of new revenue. There is still a long way to go before the world really has global free internet, but as long as there's money to be made, these projects will likely keep happening. On the other hand, if you're sick and tired of the internet (I get it), check out this video by Laura Ling, who visited a town that bans cell phones and WiFi, just like its the 90s. So is having free internet worth the price tag of playing into facebook's or google's master plan?