From the perspective of hyper-connected countries like the U.S., South Korea, or Sweden, it might shock us to learn that some 5 billion people around the globe are still without Internet access. Yet the Internet today remains—unfairly—a network for the rich, with just one-third of the world’s population currently connected.
In an effort to bring connectivity to the next two-thirds, Facebook is joining forces with a group of mobile tech giants to launch the global partnership Internet.org, which was unveiled Tuesday. Internet.org—a conglomerate of Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Opera—has three aims: make access affordable, use data more efficiently, and grow mobile business.
Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick discussed the new initiative on Bloomberg West on Wednesday, calling it a timely effort by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to “make an even bigger push” to expand the company’s global reach. “I’d say from the point, maybe in 2005, when he realized it was possible that Facebook really could aspire to be for everyone on the planet, that is what he has targeted it to be,” Kirkpatrick said. “This is just more formalizing something that he’s been working on in many ways for many years.”
Kirkpatrick added that he believes Internet.org is in position to make substantial progress. “These are the companies that can make the technology for access cheaper and better—and they will, with Facebook’s help,” he said.