Can Free Internet for the world become a reality?!
Mark Zuckerberg is known for creating and launching Facebook, one of the world’s most popular social media sites. However, Zuckerberg has again raised eyebrows by recently announcing his plan to provide free internet on mobile phone access to the entire population of the planet.
Free Internet – The Plan
Zuckerberg’s latest world-affecting plan was first revealed in Barcelona, Spain which hosted the 2013 Mobile World Congress and then on the company’s Facebook page where details were outlined in a 10-page spread. The lofty target set by Zuckerberg proposes partnering Facebook with various communication companies. Samsung, Nokia and Ericcson were named as cell phone makers, MediaTek and Qualcomm were named as possible manufacturers of internet network infrastructure, and Opera was named as the targeted browser company.
Although the overall goal is to provide free cell phone access to everyone on the planet, Zuckerberg stressed that his main focus is to provide internet services to the poorest people on the planet, allowing them low-data access to basic internet services. The group behind the massive plan, Internet.org, intends to supply the 5 billion people in the world that do not have internet with obtainable service. Currently, approximately 2.7 billion people, or around one third of the entire global population, actively use internet services.
Zuckerberg’s Angle on Free Internet
Mark Zuckerberg is a strong believer of the importance of free internet in the hands of common folks. It was on this foundation that Facebook was developed and which it is offered free of charge to the masses. According to Zuckerberg, his company has invested well over one billion dollars just in developing countries alone in order to help connect their people to the internet.
Although the barriers to providing internet connections to the masses of developing countries are huge, Zuckerberg seeks to overcome them. Internet.org has an active partnership between like minds that has been created as a vehicle to address such overwhelming challenges. MediaTek, Opera and Ericsson, along with Facebook, are founding members seeking to mobilize the industry through proactive government involvement, shared knowledge and the creation of joint ventures.
Free Intenet – The Initial Reactions
The 10-page white paper Facebook announcement concerning the project along with an accompanying video which sought to trump up support through a speech by former President John F. Kennedy of the power of connectivity on improved human relations were met with mixed reactions.
WIRED magazine decided to give Zuckerberg some publicity in a face-to-face interview. During the session, Zuckerberg offered his views and motives as well as further explained of the goals of the Internet.org group. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the plan offered no short-term profits for his popular social media company, but would take at least 3-5 years of hard work and commitment before such goals would manifest. He went on to add that he had the same realization when he started Facebook and expected no less from this project.
Zuckerberg also added that the past industrial economy based on obtaining increasingly dwindling resources is being transformed into an economy which thrives on knowledge and information. He sees this project as one of the important stepping stones for making that transition a success. It is expected that some major technological and sociological advances will be made in the process which makes this move a good idea.
Lisa West is a web designer and technology writer from Tucson, Arizona. She is an expert in managed services, web design, and troubleshooting.