It is all too easy to forget that nearly two-thirds of the world don’t have access to the internet. As we ponder broadband speeds and the latest 4G technologies Mark Zuckerberg has reminded us that only 2.7 billion people, just over one-third of the world’s population, have access to the internet. The other 4.4 billion don’t and as a result miss out on the economic, social and political benefits of being online.
To tackle this Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung have teamed up together to launch internet.org, a partnership aimed at making internet access available for more people across the globe.
There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy -- Mark Zuckerberg.
To make this goal a reality Internet.org will focus on three key areas which will make the internet more accessible in developing countries. First, internet access needs to be affordable; second, the amount of data sent and received needs to be reduced; and thirdly, new sustainable business models need to be explored that make it easier for people to access the internet.
To make internet access more affordable, Internet.org will work to develop cheaper technologies for mobile internet access. Working together with mobile operators one initial idea the group has is to develop lower-cost (but yet higher quality) smartphones. Considering its open source nature Android will likely have a key role.
To reduce the amount of data transmitted, the founding partners will work on ways to compress internet traffic as well as change existing networks to more efficiently handle data. There are also plans to look into building caching systems which can reduce data load.
Global Internet and social media access represent the biggest shift since the industrial revolution, and we want to make it all-inclusive -- MK Tsai, Chairman of MediaTek.
On the business side, the new initiative will work with network operators and device manufacturers to find new business models to fund the development and deployment of data enabled mobile services. If successful the operators will be able to provide more affordable internet access. What shape these new business models will take is yet to be announced.