Well over a billion people have signed up to be a part of Facebook’s mission to make the world a more open and connected place but for CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it’s just the beginning. What about the next five billion? It’s a question he’s been pondering as the vast majority of people we share the planet with don’t have access to the Internet.
Smartphones are expected to go a long way in connecting the globe over the next 10 years or so, but even still, it’s no guarantee. That’s because in many countries, the cost of a data plan is vastly more expensive than the price of a smartphone – a fact that is even true in the US.
Expensive data plans are a necessary evil (or so we've been told) as telecoms use the funds to build the global infrastructure to deliver the web on the go but as Zuckerberg explains, unless this model becomes more efficient, the industry cannot sustainably serve everyone.
To that end, Zuckerberg and a handful of other tech firms including Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung have laid out a rough plan to connect the rest of the world. It’s no doubt an ambitious plan that looks to wire up the the globe using current technology and making data transfer more efficient which differs from Google’s Project Loon – a network of high-flying Internet-enabled balloons.
As challenging as it might be, having more people connected to the web is a win-win for everyone involved. Facebook would no doubt benefit from having more people connected to their service while companies like Samsung, Nokia and Qualcomm would sell more smartphones and components not to mention what the influx of five billion users could do to the global economy.