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Facebook joins forces with Samsung, Nokia, etc. to bring internet to the world

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August 20, 2013

Internet.org aims to bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world that doesn't yet...

Internet.org aims to bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world that doesn't yet have it (Original image: Shutterstock)

If you thought Facebook was only good for spamming you with Farmville updates and showing you what your high school classmates ate for lunch, think again. The social network just teamed up with a consortium of other tech big-wigs to form Internet.org, an organization dedicated to bringing the internet to the two-thirds of the world that is still without it.

In addition to Mark Zuckerberg's social network, the Internet.org initiative lists Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung as the other founding members. A quote from a United Nations Human Rights Council report appearing on the organization's website illustrates the group's goals: "The internet boosts economic, social and political development, and contributes to the progress of humankind as a whole."

One of Internet.org's prime objectives is to make internet access more affordable, which is one of the major obstacles to adoption in developing countries. Internet.org is pegging lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones one of the key means to this end.

Using data more efficiently, something founding member Opera knows a thing or two about, is the second cornerstone. The conglomerate will "invest in tools that dramatically reduce the amount of data required to use most apps and internet experiences." Data compression will play a big part here, but it sounds like the group is also eying infrastructure improvements.

The last tenet, helping businesses drive access, may be the most important. After all, grand goals like this are much more sustainable when businesses get behind them. So Internet.org is going to test "new models that align incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable access than has previously been possible." In other words, make sure business large or small will be financially rewarded for providing affordable internet access in places that need it.

Of course, you can't ignore the fact that the involved companies could all stand to eventually profit from more internet users, so we'd probably be naive to pretend like this is an entirely altruistic act. But it's an extremely ambitious effort nonetheless, which obviously goes far beyond the scope of a typical business strategy.

The organization's self-named website is already live. You can watch the initiative's video mission statement (either there or below), which features audio from a 1963 speech by John F. Kennedy, describing his vision for world peace.

Sources: Facebook, Internet.org



About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
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4 Comments

Promoting the ability to engage with "the world." ask questions, collaborate without limitation, educate more people, quicker, and accelerate learning opportunities in the process; these are great reasons for the process envisioned by the consortium. That, perhaps, adoption will create increasing demand for "universal" products for everyone from Africa to Argentinia and Alaska to Antwerp will result only speaks to the consortium's foresight in thinking ahead, with sorely needed political, social and economic development a real benefit.

Barry Dennis
21st August, 2013 @ 11:30 am PDT

Really? Millions of people are starving to death on the planet & these multi-billion dollar industries could do something about this in large numbers, but are they? Nope, just lookin' to pad their own pockets. What a sad state we are in, yes we, we all allow it. Yes I do actually do something to try & help w/the starvation (instead of just complain what others don't do), but it is sadly way less than I would like to. I believe strongly in capitalism, but in it's proper form where people are so much more important than things (money falls under "things").

Name displayed
21st August, 2013 @ 01:25 pm PDT

I grew up as a gamer and was always fixing computers, yet my own mother has no clue how to connect to the internet unless the browser was open. She just never cared for it. So how on earth are these people going to deal with tech issues :/

Ryrydawg
21st August, 2013 @ 06:37 pm PDT

Years ago there was a story about how cell phones changed some commerce in India (I believe). The locals were able to contact people outside their village and check prices, rather than taking whatever the middleman would offer. Trust me, people can adapt to the technology.

Bruce H. Anderson
22nd August, 2013 @ 11:08 am PDT
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