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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is pushing internet.org, a new global initiative to make Internet access available to five billion new households by 2023.
The founding members of internet.org — Facebook, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Samsung — hope to bring Internet access “to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected, and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today,” according to a Facebook press release.
Organization members will be tasked with crafting projects, sharing information and persuading governments, mobile operators, NGOs and academics to help out.
“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.”
To make the dream a reality, internet.org will focus on three key areas in developing countries:
• Making access affordable
The companies will focus on creating and implementing technologies to lower the cost of delivering data across the globe, on fashioning lower-cost, higher-quality Smartphones and on forging partnerships to bring Internet access to underserved communities.
• Using data more efficiently
Organization members will work to fashion data compression tools, improve network capabilities to handle data more efficiently, construct systems to competently cache data and invent frameworks for apps to decrease data usage.
• Helping businesses drive access
The companies will aid in the creation of new business models and services so mobile operators, device manufacturers and developers are able to offer more affordable access. Making more languages possible on mobile devices is another goal.
Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop described universal Internet access as “the next great industrial revolution.”
“Nokia is deeply passionate about connecting people — to one another and the world around them,” Elop said.
Samsung shares that passion, said the firm’s IT & mobile communications division CEO.
“This new initiative has big potential to help accelerate access to the Internet for everyone,” said JK Shin. “We’re focused on delivering high-quality mobile devices to ensure that the next five billion people have great mobile Internet experiences.”
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg said the initiative will create “the freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society.”
“We believe affordable connectivity and Internet access improves people’s lives and helps build a more sustainable planet.”