Facebook has already become as one of the most accessed services on the internet, but the vision of its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg does not stop there. In fact, his vision is not limited to the present population of the internet users either. The catch is that Facebook ambitious plan surpasses Facebook itself and aims to improve internet connectivity, where everyone has access to it. The access can even be free if necessary, which was reflected in his ambitious Internet.org initiative.
Internet.org- The First of the Facebook ambitious plan
Internet.org was launched almost two and a half years ago which aimed to connect everyone in the world. This initiative was directed mainly towards those who have access to internet available to them but cannot afford to pay for that. It is applicable more to those families where the total expenditure per year is below $2000. In such cases, internet does not get the priority over other basic needs.
This is where Zuckerberg comes in with his argument. Internet should be considered as a basic human right similar to healthcare or clean water. Starting from availing government services to price change in the next market, Facebook can be used in so many front. Therefore, free access to this service would create opportunities for many people. Internet.org is just one of the ways Zuckerberg is trying to increase the reach of internet connectivity. With the help of Connectivity Lab, the R&D group of Facebook, more ways like using lasers, drones, enhanced software, etc. are being tested to deliver the internet to the mass.
All this might sound very noble and ideal in theory, but these ideas are also creating huge backlash in a number of countries. It was considered as a threat to net neutrality as it provided free access to a selected group of services. Later, this service was relaunched with the title Free Basics. This app had an improved security, but it was also temporarily banned in India on the same ground.
Lasers and Drones
Facebook ambitious plan doesn’t stop at apps and free data from local operators. Other than the apps and local operator based solutions, Zuckerberg also has plans to launch a satellite by this year above the sub-Saharan Africa. Besides the satellite, Zuckerberg has also plans for conducting test flights of the drones that are to be used for delivering internet. On the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg has also contacted Hamid Hemmati from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who specializes in communications travelling on lasers. In fact, Zuckerberg aims to make a combination of lasers and drones to deliver internet to the furthest of places at a high speed. The drones that are currently in development have the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but the weight is less than a thousand pounds. The technology may be ready within a year or two, but the major obstacle here is the regulations. In this case, Facebook is working with Alphabets (Google) to cross these regulatory hurdles.
All these solutions leave another problem untouched. Is everyone looking forward to their access to internet? People have to be convinced and informed in order to know why they need internet and what it can do for them. Zuckerberg is also working on that front and visiting a good number of countries every month with his mission and vision. Facebook ambitious plan implementation may not be as far as it seems, given the speed at which technology is advancing right now.