Two-third of the world’s population does not have Internet access, but that is about to change.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday, August 20, the launch of Internet.org, a partnership between tech industry leaders aiming to bring Internet access to the next five billion people.
At the moment, only a third of the world’s population, or an estimated 2.7 billion people, have access or connectivity to the internet. Apart from that, Internet adoption and implementation increases by only less than 9 percent annually, a slow growth rate if you think about how early the tech industry is in its development.
The objective of Internet.org is to grant Internet access to the remaining two-third of the world’s population who have yet to discover the online experience, and to deliver similar opportunities from the Internet-connected part of the world.
Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm, Opera, Ericsson, and MediaTek – these founding companies of Internet.org will help each other out over joint projects, share knowledge and information, and drum up governments and industries to create a completely connected world. Each of these major companies have an extensive work history with mobile operators.
Facebook said in a press release that the partnership will allow these industry leaders to play prominent roles within the project. However, Internet.org will also take in NGOs, academic institutions, and experts in due time.
Internet.org is inspired from the successful run of the Open Compute Project to cut costs for cloud computing through manufacturing more efficient and innovative hardware designs.
To connect the unconnected two-thirds of the world’s population, Facebook said Internet.org will come to grips with these three key tasks in emerging markets:
1. Inexpensive Internet access
Internet.org founders and partners will work together to develop and implement efficient technologies to reduce the costs of mobile connectivity and the delivery of data to people across the world.
Potential projects consist of group efforts to build inexpensive but higher-quality smartphones and create partnerships to set up Internet access in underprivileged areas and communities.
Mobile operators will be the core of this effort, as these companies drive initiatives to help the whole ecosystem.
2. Efficient data usage
Internet.org founders and partners will allocate budgets for tools that will quickly lessen the amount of data needed to use the Internet and most mobile applications.
Potential projects consist of data compression software and equipment, improvements in network capabilities for efficient data handling, systems to cache data proficiently, and frameworks for mobile apps to cut the use of data.
3. Encouraging and supporting local businesses to drive access
Internet.org founders and partners will support, and fund if necessary, the creation of new sustainable business models and services to optimize Internet access.
Potential steps include testing new models that take account of incentives for device manufacturers, developers, mobile operators, and other businesses.
Facebook said the partnership will also support the localization of services to provide more languages on mobile devices.
The Internet.org website delivers a general idea of the mission and goals of the partnership, including a full list of the partners.