What is internet.org?

 Published On January 15, 2015

Internet.org is a partnership between Facebook, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Samsung, Mediatek, and Opera Software. The group’s objective is to connect the 2/3rd of the world that doesn’t have access to the Internet today. It looks at providing people with access to free basic Internet based services like wikipedia, weather, jobs, social media, messenger. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, often refers to it as the 911 of the Internet where as long as you have a mobile phone you should be able to access these services for free.

An analysis done showed that 80-85% of the world lives within 2G/ 3G range. Two reasons inhibiting them being connected to the Internet were:

  • The cost of the data connection (not the cost of the smartphone!)
  • Their not seeing the value of having an Internet connection (you don’t know what you don’t have)

The partnership relies on working with carrier partners so that their customers get access to free basic services and then see the value in connecting to the Internet. Ideally people would spend a small portion of their disposable income and connect to the Internet. Three pillars were identified as key for this partnership to work:

  • Decreasing the cost of the infrastructure that forms the Internet
  • Reducing the amount of data used for mobile apps
  • Increasing efficiency of upsell programs to increase the revenue for carriers

For the remaining 15% of the world that lives outside 2G/ 3G range the solution being explored was to use low-cost solar powered drones that would broadcast the data connection to users. A combination of satellites and lasers would be used for the “Internet uplink” for the drones. How cool is that?!

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© 2015 - Manav Prabhakar. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
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