Facebook And 6 Phone Companies Launch Internet.org To Bring Affordable Access To Everyone
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.
Zuck announced the news on a rare Facebook status update this evening, which amassed thousands of likes in mere seconds. He wrote:
For nine years, we’ve been on a mission to connect the world. We now connect more than 1 billion people, but to connect the next 5 billion we must solve a much bigger problem: the vast majority of people don’t have access to the internet.
“I’m focused on this because I think it’s one of the greatest challenges of our generation. I’ve attached a rough plan I’ve written outlining the work Facebook is doing to solve this and how our industry can work together to connect the next 5 billion people.”
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.
Various tech and mobile executives voiced public support for the initiative, alongside Zuckerberg. Google is noticeably absent from the lineup despite that the search giant has invested heavily on improving Internet access. The latest unconventional idea, dubbed “Project Loon,” would deliver Wi-Fi by balloon.