Technology partnership launched to increase Internet access globally

Facebook Historical IPOToday it was announced that Facebook will be leading a new group of technology companies dedicated to getting people connected on a mass scale.

It is a partnership dedicated to improving the reach of the internet. Which means bringing billions of people without access around the world online for the first time with steady access to the web. Right now only a third of the population has regular (or any) internet connectivity. There first goal will be bringing the web to the next five billion people.

Naming the group, it will include Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung as its original founders. Though it is hoped that other technology companies will join up in the future to take part in their cause.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement:

“Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect. There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it.”

There will be a three tier strategy to make this happen. First is making access more affordable by decreasing the cost of mobile technology; second is the creation of tools to make data usage more efficient; third will be helping companies to develop sustainable business models so they can offer access to the web and drive its productivity and profitability.

A great deal of this will depend on the relationship of these companies with world governments, mobile and cable businesses, app and technology developers, non-governmental agencies dedicated to web freedoms and academics who can offer economic guidance.

But they have quite a few roadblocks ahead. Even Facebook is not global right now, due to the lack of ad revenue that comes from smaller or less economically stable countries. It isn’t profitable (and in many cases the website would lose money) to offer Facebook in these areas.

Zuckerberg calls this the “unfair economic reality”, and it is the same reality this group will be facing in their attempts to stretch the Internet’s reach into these same regions.

What do you think about this? I personally see the value of increasing access to be global, and believe it is an important technological evolution that will have far reaching implications in the development of the entire world. Though, as we have seen in recent years, consequences of internet access can be negative as well as positive.

Source: FB Newsroom

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