Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed late on Tuesday internet.org, a global partnership with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, with the goal to make internet access available to the rest of the planet. Today, just 2.7 billion people have access to the internet, or about one-third of the world.
Zuckerberg shared his proposal publicly in a document that poses the question, "Is connectivity a human right?" In it, he details the three main challenges on which internet.org will focus: making internet access more affordable, improving app efficiency to decrease data usage, and helping businesses develop new models for getting customers online.
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In order for Facebook to grow, so must the pool of internet users – but Zuckerberg stresses in his plan that increasing the world's access will benefit the global knowledge economy.
"Before the internet and the knowledge economy, our economy was primarily industrial and resource-based. Many dynamics of resource-based economies are zero sum," Zuckerberg wrote. "For example, if you own an oil ﬁeld, then I can’t also own that same oil ﬁeld. This incentivizes those with resources to hoard rather than share them. But a knowledge economy is diﬀerent and encourages worldwide prosperity. It’s not zero sum. If you know something, that doesn’t stop me from knowing it too. In fact, the more things we all know, the better ideas, products and services we can all oﬀer and the better all of our lives will be."
Zuckerberg states in his document that this is just a "rough proposal," and that he expects the details to evolve over time. For its own part, Facebook plans to decrease the amount of data used by mobile devices accessing its service. According to Zuckerberg, the average user consumes about 12 MB of data per day on Facebook, but the goal is to push that down to 1 MB.
According to the press release, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, Samsung and other partners will "build on existing partnerships while exploring new ways to collaborate to solve these problems."
"Connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. This is just one small step toward achieving that goal. I’m excited to work together to make this a reality," wrote Zuckerberg on his Facebook post.