Recently Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook timeline:
“In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we've been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky.
Today, we're sharing some details of the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone.
Our goal with Internet.org is to make affordable access to basic internet services available to every person in the world.
We've made good progress so far. Over the past year, our work in the Philippines and Paraguay alone has doubled the number of people using mobile data with the operators we've partnered with, helping 3 million new people access the internet.
We're going to continue building these partnerships, but connecting the whole world will require inventing new technology too. That's what our Connectivity Lab focuses on, and there's a lot more exciting work to do here.
Our team has many of the world's leading experts in aerospace and communications technology, including from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center. Today we are also bringing on key members of the team from Ascenta, a small UK-based company whose founders created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world’s longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft. They will join our team working on connectivity aircraft.
You can find more details on our efforts below. We're looking forward to working with our Internet.org partners and operators worldwide to deploy these technologies and deliver on the dream of connecting the world.”
Progress report of this project :
Last August, Facebook partnered with leading technology companies to launch Internet.org — a global effort to make affordable basic internet services available to everyone in the world.
Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our time. When people have access to the internet, they can not only connect with their friends, family and communities,but they can also gain access to the tools and information to help find jobs, start businesses,access healthcare, education and financial services, and have a greater say in their societies.They get to participate in the knowledge economy.
Building the knowledge economy is the key to solving many of our big social and economic challenges, and creates new growth and opportunities for people in every country. A recent study by Deloitte found that the internet is already an important driver of economic growth in many developing countries. Expanding internet access could create another 140 million new jobs, lift 160 million people out of poverty, and reduce child mortality by hundreds of thousands of lives. Connectivity isn’t an end in itself, but it’s a powerful tool for change.
However, there are significant obstacles to building the knowledge economy, and the internet is growing very slowly. Today, only around 2.7 billion people have access to the internet — just a little more than a third of the world’s population. That number is only growing by about 9%
If we want to connect the world, we have to accelerate that growth. That’s our goal with Internet.org.
Internet.org progress to date
In my last paper, I outlined a plan to deliver basic internet services to everyone by working to decrease the costs of connectivity, building more efficient services that use less data, and by partnering with mobile operators on new models for access that can help the industry grow while also bringing more people onto the internet.
Since then, we’ve achieved promising early results from our first set of partnerships. In the Philippines, we worked with mobile operator Globe to offer free data access to our apps, make it easier for people to register for a data plan and get a loan for their plan. In just a few months we helped double the number of people using mobile data on Globe’s network and grew their subscribers by 25%. In Paraguay, by working with TIGO we were able to grow the number of people using the internet by 50% over the course of the partnership and increase daily data usage by more than 50%. These two partnerships alone helped almost 3 million new people access the internet.