Examining Facebook’s long-term goals for Internet.org

One-third of the world’s population has access to the Internet and two-thirds of the world does not. That’s about 5 billion people on Earth who are without Internet access. Facebook and its partners are planning to change that with Internet.org.

It is a lofty goal, and one that seems to make a ton of sense. You’ve heard the spiel. Today, the global economy functions in a huge way on the web. Online business, trade, sales, communication and marketing efforts take up a gigantic portion of large and small business models alike. Experts agree; the importance of the Internet in business is only going to grow in the coming years.

And that’s not all. Aside from business, the Internet is home to much of the education and entertainment the world’s population consumes on a daily basis. With new subscription options to stream content online, the traditional pay-tv model may be on its way out.

[contextly_sidebar id=”f401dccdb322b122b0ade241324d4b04″]Communication and socialization efforts, namely by companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, make it easy for people to connect anywhere, anytime. At least for one-third of the world’s population. For most of its existence, the Internet has been seen as a luxury of the developed world.

Facebook and other services have been available in the United States and Europe since their advent. Advanced fiber-optic and other high-speed Internet technology, like those provided by Verizon Internet services, have aided Facebook’s growth in the U.S and other parts of the developed world.

However, with its ever-increasing importance in commerce and society, many industry leaders are beginning to see the web as an integral asset to growth in all parts of the world. One of the most vocal of those leaders, Facebook’s CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg, postulates in his white paper that the Internet isn’t a luxury, after all.

It’s a human right.

So, what’s the plan?

Facebook has partnered with major tech giants Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera, Samsung, Nokia and Qualcomm to begin the conversation about how to bring the Internet to underserved parts of the world. As Internet.org, these partners will share “tools, resources and best practices… [to] explore solutions in three major opportunity areas: affordability, efficiency, and business models.”

To achieve the desired effects in these three opportunity areas, Internet.org has set a few long-term goals.

Deliver more affordable, or even free, data

As it currently stands, delivering data is 100 times too expensive to extend the benefits of Internet access to the disconnected two-thirds. It is nothing for mobile operators to spend billions of dollars extending networks or building out new ones. These networks give users access to the data they need to get online on their smartphones or mobile devices.

These billions, according to Zuckerberg in “Is Connectivity a Human Right,” drive the high costs consumers get stuck with for the convenience of data plans. In order to make data plans affordable for the disconnected two-thirds, Internet.org plans to urge mobile operators to innovate more efficient networks that deliver more data at a lower cost to the operators.

Some of Zuckerberg’s ideas include reallocating spectrum to cut high bidding costs, network extension technology and new technology that stores data inside operators’ centers to make it faster and cheaper to deliver.

Use data more efficiently 

Not only does Internet.org want to make it easier and more affordable for mobile operators to deliver data, the organization hopes to decrease the amount of data apps and Internet services used. In developing countries where Internet.org hopes to extend Internet access, customers buy data on a pre-paid model. That’s because it is inefficient for operators to provide unlimited data in these areas.

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