General

Speaking of broadband access, Ben Popper at The Verge has a detailed breakdown of plans of both Google and Facebook to deliver high-speed Internet access via balloons and drones. As Popper writes:

There is actually a long history of failed attempts to provide aerial internet access. Starting in the 1990s at least five big projects were announced, including Iridium and Globalstar, both of which aimed to provide cellphone coverage. They were actually built but promptly went bankrupt. Teledesic, a venture funded by by Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, got a lot of people interested but was scrapped before it launched its first constellation. One problem with these early efforts was that people on the ground required bulky, custom handsets in order to receive the signal. But the rapid and widespread proliferation of cheap, powerful smartphones means that’s no longer a major obstacle.

If Google and Facebook are able to pull these projects off, it could revolutionize the developing world.