Mark Zuckerberg wants to bring the internet to billions more people

August 21, 2013
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Internet.org graphicIt 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.

There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy -- Mark Zuckerberg.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Comments

  • End in sight

    It seems that this is the same issue that Google’s “Loon” project is focused on…although the way this group is implementing their efforts is different. Even so, it seems that both could dove tail into each other and compliment and synergize. I mean once Loon gets the balloons up there, internet.org’s new tech could make it all better.

    (I don’t want to have a bad attitude, but I have to confess, whenever I see Zuck in the news, it leaves kind of a bad taste in my mouth. I am not sure why…I don’t use FB and never will and maybe that is my problem.)

  • lil bit

    “one initial idea the group has is to develop lower-cost (but yet higher quality) smartphones.”

    Oops, heard it before, OLPC. Fail. I used to get flamed for saying how bad an idea it is to make a new category of devices like OLPC, but history has since proved me right. I’m a westerner but have lived in poor places in so-called third world countries, and it is so demn impossible to make people from rich counties understand that this is not the way to help anyone, it’s not what they want. Get down and dirty, they mean no disrespect, the problem is more that you want them to be thankful for your “generosity”. Fail. New strategy needed asap.

    “Considering its open source nature Android will likely have a key role.”

    No, that would possibly require a simplified kernel and feature stripping, better to go with existing lightweight stuff, FF OS if it was up to me. Then again, as i said, it’s not what anyone want anyway.

    • MasterMuffin

      I was thinking that FF would be much better too, unless KLP brings some miracles that make stock Android work “okay” on stuff like Snapdragon S1, 256MB of RAM etc.

    • john

      Whilst I do understand where you are coming from OLPC, I don’t think it was a complete failure, at least in terms of the hardware.
      The problem with OLPC was the whole project consisted of literally parachute dropping cheap laptops to children and crossing fingers that the children AND teachers knew what to do with them.
      Another problem was that the project was very non-invasive and was pretty much afraid to have any direct influence on the children’s education. This in turn meant there were no visible improvement to standardized test scores and investors were hung out to dry.

      I honestly think the issue with these projects are less related to the actual hardware or the OS in them, more to do with the actual infrastructure and developing community assets such as actually educating teachers to take advantage of these devices.

      I mean look at Rasberry Pi. There were plenty of similar computer-on-board concepts and even cheaper development platforms. However, the sheer size of the Pi community alone is worthwhile for making the purchase.