Facebook Moves to Get Planet Earth Online
And using Facebook, presumably
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2013 7:07 AM CDT
Updated Aug 21, 2013 7:45 AM CDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Facebook Graph Search at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – Some 4 billion people on this planet do not have Internet access, so a group of tech giants has formed a partnership with the aim of finally connecting those unfortunates to the virtual world of cat GIFs and, ahem, witty news curation websites. Spearheaded by Facebook, the partnership, called Internet.org, also includes names like Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Ericsson, reports the New York Times. "There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," says Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. "Internet.org will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."

The Zuck reveals a three-pronged approach to tackling the problem: making Internet access more affordable with, for instance, cheaper smartphones; creating apps and tools to reduce the amount of data needed; and building partnerships with mobile operators, developers, and others to do things like enabling more languages on mobile devices. Not part of the plan, however, notes the Times, is addressing the lack of infrastructure in the developing world. Also not expected to take part? Google, which is doing its own thing. The coalition does hope to bring Microsoft on board, but Bill Gates recently indicated to Business Week that he thinks the third world has more pressing issues. "When a kid gets diarrhea," he said, "no, there’s no website that relieves that."

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
HMD-SMD-ITY
Aug 30, 2013 8:18 PM CDT
Iridium was going to be cheap enough for anyone to access and you could be in the Grand Canyon and still access it. Well, Iridium did work but its like $1 per minute. That's because it never panned out and the only reason it stays aloft is the government uses it for encrypted communications. But the plan was to make it so easy to get that everybody bought a phone. The phone first tries to use cellular towers and a cellular plan. But when the towers are not accessible, it looks for a bird and connects to it. The good thing is that Iridium to Iridium calls are cheap as cell calls. Its when it has to connect to a landline that kills you. The nice thing about Iridium is that it will most likely be a major player in controlling your airline flight around 2025.
K.KRANK
Aug 22, 2013 1:44 AM CDT
This guy is turning into the boy who cries wolf constantly. His proposal is super short on specifics, the consortium includes hardware companies, there's nothing in his proposal about who pays for it, it's a joke of a proposal. Like there are Third-World countries w/ppl drinking out of mud-holes in the desert who are living on $2 a day if they're lucky who are thinking, "You know what I really need? A smartphone & Internet access so I can look at all the vendors promoting products on Facebook. Yeah, as soon as I lick that water spot off the top of that mud in that hole down there I'll try to get that smartphone & Net connection..." Hey Zuck, why don't you work on something more doable, actually possible, like bringing high-speed Internet to everywhere in America, including the rural areas. At least the rural areas here would be inclined to look at the vendor ads for products on Facebook & aren't licking water spots off mud holes out in the desert lol
DougMasters
Aug 21, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
Yes... those 4 bil don't have internet and it's their number one priority. Zuck you're an idiot.