NEW YORK (
CEO Mark Zuckerberg
plans to connect everyone on Earth to the Internet. That's quite an ambitious plan, but he's not going at it alone.
Facebook had 1.15 billion users as of the end of the
and while the social network is looking to continue adding more users to its services with Internet.org, as it's being called, is far more ambitious than just that. Zuckerberg is teaming up with
on this initiative.
Facebook announced the partnership, called
and a ten-page outline
According to Facebook's outline, only 2.7 billion people, a little over a third of the world's population, have Internet access, and that access is growing by less than 9% per year. The goal of Internet.org is to get the rest of the world connected, as Zuckerberg believes "connectivity is a human right."
"Even though projections show most people will get smartphones in the next decade, most people still won't have data access because the cost of data remains much more expensive than the price of a smartphone," Zuckerberg wrote in the blog post.
Facebook's goal is to improve the efficiency of data delivery by 100 times in the next 5-10 years.
Arguing that connectivity is a human right, Zuckerberg describes how Internet access provides the "foundation of the global knowledge economy." While resource economies are often zero-sum games, a knowledge-based economy better facilitates worldwide prosperity because, in contrast, knowledge is not a zero-sum game and leads to the promulgation of "better ideas, products and services we can all over." Worldwide Internet access would therefore "not only improve billions of lives, but...also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world."
In addition to improving the global economy, universal Internet access would be hugely beneficial to individual national economies. Citing analysis from
, Zuckerberg writes that Internet accounts for 21% of GDP growth in developed countries, 75% of which is experienced in non-technology sectors. In addition, the Internet creates 2.6 jobs for every one job lost to efficiencies. According to Zuckerberg, facilitating worldwide Internet access is a "fundamental and necessary step" to ensure a healthy future world economy.
Having already spent more than $1 billion on smaller such initiatives, Zuckerberg presents a "rough plan" for the entire technology industry to bring this idea to fruition. The plan is a three-pronged approach, focusing on "making internet access affordable by making it more effcient to deliver data, using less data by improving the efficiency of the apps and experiences we use,
and helping businesses drive Internet access by developing a new model to get people online."
Written by Laura Berman and Chris Ciaccia in New York