When Starry announced its new venture for gigabit mesh networks in January, it was hailed as ambitious, innovative, and more than a little far-fetched. But Starry isn’t the only company developing the technology.
Patent records obtained by The Verge show that Facebook is actively developing an extremely similar technology. One patent — filed by Facebook employee Sanjai Kohli in October but made public the week after the Starry announcement — describes a “Next Generation Data Network” that would connect computers using millimeter-wave radio links deployed as a mesh network. Both mesh and millimeter-wave technology are also central ideas in Starry’s scheme. Another patent granted to Kohli at the end of 2015 describes the Next Generation Network in more detail, as a kind of centralized, cloud-based routing system.
Reached by The Verge, Facebook confirmed the millimeter-wave research and said its development was part of Internet.org’s ongoing efforts to build out Internet access for rural and poor populations.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.