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Facebook scraps satellite constellation plan

It seems that the non-announced ‘plan’ for Facebook to launch a constellation of mini-satellites, or else one $500 million super-satellite, has been dropped. The scheme, widely talked about some 6 months ago, was going to provide low-cost internet services for the developing world.

The latest unconfirmed report (in The Information publication) says that Facebook found the proposal too expensive, despite its billions of dollars of market capitalisation. Perhaps the abundance of low-cost satellite capacity in orbit helped in that decision making.

However, there remains at least some confusion. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is on record as taking about his enthusiasm for satellite-based broadband but reportedly this latest ‘cancellation’ is unrelated to his scheme.

The report in The Information talks about a person with direct knowledge of the proposals, and says that the proposal has now migrated to leasing capacity from third-party satellite operators.  At one stage UK-based Avanti Communications was – at least in gossip – linked to the Facebook rumours.

All reports are thus far unconfirmed.

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