Facebook’s Zuckerberg to launch global Internet access project

HTC Chief Executive (CEO) Peter Chou and AT&T Chief Executive (CEO) Ralph de le Vega hold HTC First phones showing the new app Facebook Home for Android, with Facebook Chief Executive (CEO) Mark Zuckerberg during a press event in Menlo Park, California. Credit: Reuters
HTC CEO Peter Chou and AT&T CEO Ralph de le Vega hold HTC First phones showing the new app Facebook Home for Android, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Credit: Reuters

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics, Qualcomm and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google.

The project, called Internet.org, is the latest move by an Internet company trying to expand Web access globally. Facebook rival Google is hoping technology, including balloons, wireless and fiber connections, will expand connectivity.

Internet.org, which was launched on Wednesday, will focus on seeking ways to help the five billion people — or two-thirds of the world’s population — who do not have Internet access come online, the company said in a statement.

It added that so far, only 2.7 billion people around the world have Internet access.

The partnership’s potential projects will include the development of lower-cost smartphones and the deployment of Internet access in underserved communities as well as working on ways to reduce the amount of data downloads required to run Internet applications, according to Facebook.

But at least initially, the company appeared to have few details on concrete plans.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the group had a “rough plan” for achieving its goal. He said the project was not just about making money for Facebook, which has more than one billion members and needs to keep expanding to boost revenue.

Zuckerberg noted that the first billion Facebook members “have way more money” than the rest of the world combined.

While many of today’s Facebook members use the service just to keep in touch with friends, Zuckerberg said future Internet users may have more lofty needs.

“They’re going to use it to decide what kind of governments they want, get access to healthcare for the first time ever, connect with family hundreds of miles away that they haven’t seen in decades,” he told CNN.

Facebook recently reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results due to an increase in advertising revenue from mobile users.

Other players in the Internet.org project include Ericsson, MediaTek Inc, Nokia and Opera Software ASA.

While the list did not include mobile network operators, Facebook that these companies would play a central role.

In June, Google announced it launched a small network of balloons over the southern hemisphere in an experiment it hopes to use to bring reliable Internet access to the world’s most remote regions.

The pilot program, Project Loon, took off from New Zealand’s South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind at a height of 12.5 miles, or twice as high as airplanes.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Breaking: Local

Judge rules Tsarnaev can view victim autopsy photos

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev can view the autopsy photographs of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Local

Police warn of attempted assault on woman near…

Police in Cambridge issued an alert after a woman said she was the victim of an attempted sexual assault after leaving Porter Square early Wednesday.…

Local

Kevin Kayvon Edson: Finish line hoax suspect sent…

The man who allegedly left a backpack near the finish line on the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings was due in court on Wednesday.

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

THEATER The Wholehearted Thursday through April 27 Paramount Center 559 Washington St., Boston $25-$49, 617-824-8400 www.artsemerson.org This conceptually rich show from Stein | Holum Projects,…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Bruins 2014 playoffs preview: Vegas odds say Stanley…

Bruins 2014 playoffs preview: Vegas odds say Stanley Cup will return to Boston

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

MLB

Injury bug tearing holes in Red Sox

Red Sox fans will recall that last year the bullpen was decimated by injuries. From Franklin Morales to Andrew Miller, from Craig Breslow to Andrew…

Wellbeing

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - You can forget about the birds and the bees. If you really want to learn how babies are made, you…

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.