In an announcement on its website (via Engadget), the company has decided to stop designing and manufacturing their own aircrafts, and will also be closing down the relevant facility in the British town of Bridgwater. Facebook claims that this is due to the fact that other companies have been designing their own high-altitude machines, which means that competing with them might not necessarily be the best use of their resources.
According to Facebook, “Going forward, we’ll continue to work with partners like Airbus on HAPS connectivity generally, and on the other technologies needed to make this system work, like flight control computers and high-density batteries. On the policy front, we’ll be working on a proposal for 2019 World Radio Conference to get more spectrum for HAPS, and we’ll be actively participating in a number of aviation advisory boards and rule-making committees in the US and internationally.”
This by no means indicates that Facebook will be scrapping plans to bring internet to around the world, but rather they will no longer be the ones manufacturing their own drones to do so.