CEO’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has announced the launch of internet.org – The aim: Making internet access available to the next 5 billion people.
This initiative is a partnership between world players that include: Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera and Qualcomm. While some of these have been in competition with Facebook in the past, these partners have committed to develop technologies that make connectivity affordable so it can be delivered to the even the poorest of countries that have little or no infrastructure at all. Clearly mobile will be a critical component of this ambitious and admirable effort.
Facebook is not leading this charge for profits. At least not now anyways. As Zuckerburg says: “If we were focusing on just making money, the first billion people [on Facebook] have more money than the the rest of the world combined, so it may not actually be proﬁtable for us to serve the next few billion people for a very long time, if ever,” Zuckerberg says. “But we believe everyone deserves to be connected.”
Connectivity is a human right
Taking on 5 billion people is no small task and while no firms plans of the “how” this will be done, Zuckerburg says that they have a rough idea of the plan and that it will change over time as technology changes. Unlike the Google Project Loon of creating a network of hot air balloons to provide internet access, this initiative is all about better use of technology. Better methods to compress data, better programming of apps so they require less connectivity which ultimately reduces the data costs and even extends battery life when there is less sending and receiving of data.
As Facebook reaches saturation point, besides that noble notion of connecting the world’s population, I see Facebook taking a long term view as this new unconnected 5 billions are surely going to be the new Facebook user of the future.
One thing is for sure, it will be a different world when the entire population has access to connectivity. Governments will have to be more transparent, incidents will be instantly shared, personal stories will spread. Perhaps this is what the world needs. It is heartbreaking to see a news story on TV of some village in some country thousands of kilometers away,but moments later it is forgotten as “who wants to marry a dustbin collector” shows start. But when those individual stories start entering our social streams, then maybe more people will get involved and reach out to help -those people in far away countries who have just Liked you Facebook status saying “check out my new $3000 Jimmy Choos shoes”
This article first appeared on The Techie Guy