Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, has ambitious plans to change the future of the Internet, and the outdated dial tone has a critical part in the initiative.
The Facebook CEO spoke to Wired and talked in detail in regard to Internet.org, his latest project and a nonprofit partnership with major tech companies whose mission is to provide basic Internet access to the unconnected regions of the planet.
Although Facebook has big names, such as Samsung and Nokia, to back the project, the main objective still sounds too good to be true. Zuckerberg told Wired a clear vision, however, on what he wants and how he will do it to begin with.
In 1943, humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow said human action is driven to obtain certain basic needs before advanced needs. It appears this hierarchy of needs applies to Internet access and services. In Zuckerberg’s words, the unconnected part of the world needs “the dial tone for the Internet” before feature-rich web content.
Zuckerberg sees in his mind’s eye a set of Internet services, including emails, search engines, Wikipedia, weather access, social networks, and prices of commodities, that have to be readily and quickly accessible to everyone, similar to the dial tone a homeowner or business receives after the installation of a landline. Nonetheless, a dial tone requires the subscriber to pay for a phone service plan.
He said the list is incomprehensive but sets up an entry point to bring full Internet access and basic Internet services to everyone.
The use of social networks, messaging, and search engines is that these are portals to more information, Zuckerberg told Wired. He said free basic Internet access will actually allow people to end up continually seeing more content and learning more information, accessing more content than they would otherwise.
He added the project will be profitable for telecoms companies and mobile carriers; network operators and service providers will earn more from the new subscribers who can pay than it will cost to provide free services.
The dial tone Zuckerberg mentioned has a small role compared to the larger goal he wishes to accomplish, but he said something in regard to breaking barriers when it comes to Internet access and services.
Zuckerberg said, “The story of the next century is the transition from an industrial, resource-based economy, to a knowledge economy. You solve that by getting everyone online.”