Facebook Is Developing a Helicopter to Deliver Internet Access in Emergencies

Facebook Is Developing a Helicopter to Deliver Internet Access in Emergencies

Published By: The Verge, 4/20/2017

>> View the Article <<


Facebook is developing a small helicopter to provide wireless Internet access in emergencies. Where cellular infrastructure is damaged, the “Tether-Tenna” helicopter would latch onto functioning fiber data lines, along with electric lines, and rise up in the air to broadcast a signal. This technology, along with others currently being built, is part of Facebook’s efforts to make Internet access more widely and consistently available.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 14.1

Extended Discussion Questions

  • How would you explain what’s going on if you were deploying this technology to a community dealing with an emergency?
    • What questions do you think people might have?
  • If it were your town, in what ways could this technology impact your situation?
    • What would happen if the helicopter did not function properly? What issues could it present?
  • Where would the Tether-Tenna be most beneficial? In what kinds of situations?
    • What would those benefits be?
    • What other ways could Internet access be delivered to emergency-effected areas?
  • What are some potential disadvantages of Tether-Tenna technology?
    • Could it be misused? How would you prevent misuse?
  • Should maintaining Internet access be such a major focus in emergencies? Why or why not?

Alternative Article

“Facebook Tests ‘Tether-Tenna’ to Beam Down the Internet From Helicopters”
Published By: GeekWire, 4/19/2017 || View the Article
Provides a better explanation of how the Tether-Tenna works (but also covers a couple of other topics).

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
  • LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.1.1M The Internet and the Web have enhanced methods of and opportunities for communication and collaboration.
  • EK 7.1.1N The Internet and the Web have changed many areas, including e-commerce, health care, access to information and entertainment, and online learning.
  • EK 7.4.1E Networks and infrastructure are supported by both commercial and governmental initiatives.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 6 The Internet

Banner Image:Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

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