Facebook has founded an initiative alongside major industry partners to help foster global internet adoption. Launching under the name of Internet.org, Zuckerberg and company hope to expand the World Wide Web to previously unreachable areas.
Other companies under the scheme include heavyweights; Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Samsung and Qualcomm.
Together, they hope to come up with initiatives to provide internet access to the two thirds of the world which is currently missing out on cat videos the web.
Whilst yet to fully-detail any of their plans; they’ve outlined some key goals. These include; making access affordable, using data efficiently, and lending businesses a hand so they can increase access.
It will not only be physical connectivity they’ll be working on – but also the better handling of data. Currently, Facebook is testing new compression techniques in their Android application; hoping to move the 12MB a day usage to only 1MB.
But they have some “competition” (if you can call it that) from Google and Microsoft – who are both pioneering unique innovations to bring internet access to hard-to-reach and developing areas.
Google has the rather fantastic ‘Project Loon’ for providing internet access via an overhead balloon; which is not only being deployed in Africa – but has also just started testing in California. Going beyond this floating access point, El Goog wants to build a connected network of Android devices.
Microsoft on the other hand is taking a slightly more conventional approach using radio signals. Where it is a little unique is through utilisation of “White Space” (unused frequencies for testing.)
It’s yet to be seen which will have the most practical implementation, but it hasn’t stopped Bill Gates from chipping in: “When you’re dying of malaria, I suppose you’ll look up and see that balloon, and I’m not sure how it’ll help you.” – He said during an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.
Any initiative which brings access to more people around the world is positive; whether Facebook, Google, or Microsoft… Let’s get the world watching cat videos online!
What do you think about the various initiatives to provide developing areas with internet access?