Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been trying for years to promote the plan to bring Internet to remote areas around the world.In a new essay Zuck has published in the Wall Street Journal, the CEO and co-founder of the world’s biggest social network explains why he believes it’s so important to connect the whole planet to the Internet, especially in poor nations.
As Facebook now stands on its own two feet, with more than 1 billion people using the platform at least once a month, Zuckerberg’s focus has shifted towards this new project which has become his passion.
Back in March, Zuckerberg launched a nonprofit called Internet.org which has an ambitious mission, namely to bring the Internet to the two thirds of the planet that currently can’t access it or don’t use it.
While some believe there are more important things in the world, like curing malaria, as Bill Gates pointed out, Zuckerberg makes some pretty good points in his piece. He mentions that his essay is based on a report from Deloitte, which Internet.org commissioned.
“A recent study by Deloitte found that expanding Internet access in developing countries would create 140 million jobs and lift 160 million people out of poverty, and that this newfound opportunity would even meaningfully reduce child-mortality rates. Across sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America, the Internet will help drive human progress,” he states.
Despite the fact that not all these areas can connect to the Internet, Zuckerberg stresses that it wouldn’t be too difficult to make it happen. His argument is that almost 90 percent of the world’s population already lives within the range of an existing cellular network.
That being said, the issue is that not all Internet service is affordable and that’s what Internet.org should do – make sure that people can pay for connectivity. First off, however, the nonprofit will likely offer some free apps with every smartphone, which can be used without a data plan. The idea is that perhaps the buyers will love it all so much that they’ll agree to buy a proper Internet connection.
“In the future, everyone should have access to basic Internet services as well, even if they haven't paid for a data plan. And just as basic phone services encouraged more people to get phones, basic Internet services will encourage many more people to get a data plan,” Zuck writes.
He hopes that through these efforts billions of people can be connected within the next decade, and that this will transform their lives and communities.
“Nothing about this future is guaranteed. The coming years will be a battle to expand and defend the free and open Internet. Our success will determine how far this vision of a connected world can go. Connecting the world is within our reach, and if we work together, we can make this happen,” the Facebook leader concludes.