Facebook took to its blog on Wednesday to announce that a group of technology leaders have banded together to create a partnership called “internet.org.” The goal is to provide Internet to as many people as possible, including the next 5 billion people on the planet. It includes heavy hitters in the industry including Facebook, Samsung, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Ericsson.
Right now, Facebook says, just 2.7 billion people have access to the Internet on Earth. That means about two-thirds of the planet still isn’t connected, and these companies want to spur the growth by providing affordable Internet. Obviously it’s great for the entire world if more people are online – the Internet creates jobs and can spur education – but we can’t help but wonder how much of this initiative is to drive business growth. By providing Internet, each of these companies stand to benefit.
“Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect,” Zuckerberg said. “There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it.”
Internet.org will focus on making tools so that we use data more efficiently, helping businesses get access to the Internet, and creating low-cost options. “Mobile operators will play a central role in this effort by driving initiatives that benefit the entire ecosystem,” the group said, though it didn’t name any mobile operators that are currently on board with the project.
The group said it will publish its planned activities in the coming weeks – and we’re excited to see where the group plans to get started.