Do you remember life before the internet? It’s no exaggeration when I say that the internet drastically changed my life. I make every dime of my income working online from my home office. Some of the best experiences of my life came about because I was able to reach people on the internet. I also learn something new every day because of the internet.
But all of that is pretty frivolous compared to the issues faced by people in other parts of the world where access to the internet can mean getting vital news in a timely manner and finding healthcare and other types of assistance. And don’t get me started on how global internet access would help education.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is on the case. He’s rounding up the biggest names in tech to help bring internet access to the next 5 billion people with an initiative called internet.org.
Internet.org is focused on three challenges:
Making access affordable:
Partners will collaborate to develop and adopt technologies that make mobile connectivity more affordable and decrease the cost of delivering data to people worldwide. Potential projects include collaborations to develop lower cost, higher quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities.
Using data more efficiently:
Partners will invest in tools that dramatically reduce the amount of data required to use most apps and internet experiences. Potential projects include developing data compression tools, enhancing network capabilities to more efficiently handle data, building systems to cache data efficiently and creating frameworks for apps to reduce data usage.
Helping businesses drive access:
Partners will support development of sustainable new business models and services that make it easier for people to access the internet. This includes testing new models that align incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable access than has previously been possible.
It’s a lofty goal but right now two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t have access. The internet isn’t just for chatting with friends and shopping online. It’s a life-line. It’s away of fostering cultural understanding and communication. If kids in an Arkansas elementary school could start every day chatting with kids in an orphanage in Africa, the world would be in a much better state.