Internet . org: Internet For All
Not very. Only a little more than one-third of the entire worldwide population, 2.7 billion to be exact, have Internet access. What about the other 4 billion-ish people who don't?
Zuckerberg To The Rescue
Leave it to Mark Zuckerberg, social media superstar, to offer a helping hand. On Wednesday, he announced the creation of Internet . org, a group of people working together to make this dream a reality by lowering the costs associated with Internet access on mobile phones specifically for developing countries.
What for? Well, where is Facebook going to get any new users? Other tech companies, like Samsung, Ericsson, and Nokia have partnered with Zuckerberg on the Internet . org project, likely with the same goal in mind.
Internet . org: Internet For All: How Will They Do It?
The idea they've come up with involves improving mobile applications so they operate more efficiently on feature phones. I know, a blast from the past, but that's how countries like India are still accessing the Internet. The goal is to get these phones consuming less battery power while at the same time sending more data to load cheap hosting websites and applications over the network.
But is Zuckerberg really worried about the people who don't have Internet access? Are those people worried? Do they even know what they're missing? Zuckerberg leads the social media industry, and now he leads Internet . org, a way for him to display his caring, philanthropic side while at the same time raking in more profits.
“The Internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it's not going to build itself,” he said. “Ultimately, this has to make business sense on some time frame people can get behind.”
Doesn't this sound similar to Google's quest to partner with phone carriers to improve developing nations' access to the Internet by providing free Gmail and search access as well as the first page visited when clicking on search results? And what about Project Loon? That project is based on the idea that balloons floating miles upon miles up in the atmosphere can transmit Internet signal to these underdeveloped areas.
Twitter is in on the Internet boom as well, heading to market to offer shares to the public. They are working with roughly 250 cellphone companies in over 100 countries in order to offer free access to Twitter, and that doing so is easy on even the cheapest of feature phones.
More Profits For All
Increasing Internet access will undoubtedly open up a new source of profits for these companies. With over half of America logging in to Facebook at least once per month and there are enough active cellphones to put one in the pocket of each person that exists on Earth, it's tough to see how they can further increase profits without expanding Internet and cell phone coverage.
What Internet . org is trying to achieve: make Internet service cost a mere one percent of its current cost in the next five to ten years in a number of ways: more efficient data handling on the network end; more efficient data cacheing; improved app frameworks; creating data compression tools; and more. They also want to work alongside phone companies to provide things free of charge, like email access and social media access. Zuckerberg knows this is no task to take on alone: “No one company can really do this by itself.”
Do you think this is an important endeavor, or just a ploy to increase profits?