Meta has shut down its Connectivity division, which was created in 2013 while the company was still named Facebook. According to a report from LightReading, employees in this now-defunct Connectivity division will be split across Meta’s “Infrastructure” and “Central Product” groups.
The internal reorg comes after Meta announced last month that it was laying off more than 11,000 employees. Over the past 9 years, Meta’s Connectivity division partnered with the connectivity industry to expand access to the Internet. The company estimated last year that more than 300 million people had access to faster Internet thanks to the work of Facebook Connectivity.
One of the division’s flagship projects was Project Aquila, which leveraged solar-powered drones to deliver Internet connectivity to billions of people across the world who don’t have access to it. The project eventually shut down in 2018. Three years later, Google also terminated its similar “Project Loon” program that used high-altitude balloons instead of drones, citing an absence of commercial viability.
Meta’s Infrastructure group will continue its work on telecom technologies. As reported by LightReading, Meta will also continue to participate in the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), a large group of tech companies and network carriers working on enabling Internet access to everyone.
Meta’s Connectivity Division had a goal to bring the metaverse to more than a billion people within the next decade. Despite this internal reorganization, the metaverse pretty much remains the next big thing for Meta. “We’re leading in developing the technology to define the future of social connection and the next computing platform. We do historically important work,” Mark Zuckerberg said last month.