Facebook leading coalition to target non-users
Social networking giant announces effort to cut cost of delivering basic internet on mobiles
Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make internet access available around the globe by launching a new initiative to make getting online more affordable. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/PA Wire
About one of every seven people in the world uses Facebook. Now, Mark Zuckerberg, its co-founder and chief executive, wants to make a play for the rest – including the four billion or so who lack internet access.
Yesterday, Facebook announced an effort aimed at drastically cutting the cost of delivering basic internet services on mobile phones, particularly in developing countries, where Facebook and other tech companies need to find new users.
They intend to accomplish their goal by simplifying phone applications and by improving the phone components and networks so they transmit more data while using less power.
For Mr Zuckerberg, the coalition is yet another way in which he is trying to position himself as an industry leader. With Internet.org, he is presenting a philosophy to pair humanitarian goals with the profit motive.
“The internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it’s not going to build itself,” he said in a recent interview.
The effort is also a reflection of how tech companies are trying to meet Wall Street’s demands for growth by attracting customers beyond saturated markets in the US and Europe, even if they have to help build infrastructure in less digitally sophisticated parts of the world.
Google began a programme with phone carriers last year that offers some developing countries free services. With Project Loon, it plans to beam internet access down to Earth from balloons floating 11 miles up. – (New York Times service)