Project aimed at bringing affordable Internet access to the 5 billion people without it
Facebook has just announced a partnership with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera and Qualcomm to launch Internet.org, a project aimed at bringing affordable Internet access to the 5 billion people without it. The companies will work together on data-compression technologies and cheap, high-quality smartphones to make the web cheaper.
While it might seem like the whole world is connected, just one-third of the globe’s population has Internet access, and adoption is only growing at 9 percent. Internet.org aims to speed up that rate.
Zuckerberg writes “There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it.” Zuckerberg has laid out his thoughts on accessibility in a paper called “Is Connectivity A Human Right?“
The three major initiatives of the partnership are:
Making access affordable through cheaper smartphones, and working with mobile operators to extend Internet access to underserved communities.
Using data more efficiently so people don’t run up high costs. Internet.org partners may look to build data-compression tools, bolster network efficiency, and improve data caching.
Helping businesses drive access to grow mobile businesses sustainably. Partners will aim to create mutually beneficial incentives for app developers, device OEMs, and operators that will get more people online. The companies will also work together to help mobile devices support more languages to demolish barriers to usage.
The push is rooted in altruism and global community, but may eventually serve to boost the businesses of all mobile companies. By enlarging the pie — getting more people online — everyone in the mobile business could benefit. That includes Facebook and the device manufacturers spearheading this project, but also the carriers, app developers, e-commerce companies, advertisers, and even artists who distribute their work via mobile.
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