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Facebook partners with Nokia, Samsung and others to bring internet to developing countries


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

August 21, 2013 | 3 min read

Facebook has partnered with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, and Samsung to launch with the goal of making internet access available to five billion people across the world’s developing countries.

Mark Zuckerberg stated that just over one third of the world's population, 2.7 billion people, have access to the internet and adoption is growing by less than nine per cent each year. This proved to be a snag in the CEO's plan to expand Facebook's reach.

In launching, influenced by Open Compute Project, the group will push industry and governments to speed this adoption rate up by focusing on three key challenges in developing countries: making access affordable, using data more efficiently and helping businesses drive access.

Potential projects include collaborations to develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities. Zuckerberg said mobile operators will play a central role in this effort by driving beneficial initiatives.

The group will also invest in tools that reduce the amount of data required to use most apps and internet experiences, with plans to implement data compression tools, enhance network capabilities to more efficiently handle data, build systems to cache data efficiently and create frameworks for apps to reduce data usage.

Together they plan to help businesses drive access by supporting the development of sustainable new business models by testing new models that align incentives for mobile operators, device manufacturers, developers and other businesses to provide more affordable access. They will also work with operating system providers and other partners to enable more languages on mobile devices.

Commenting on the move, Zuckerberg said “I call this a "rough plan" because, like many long term technology projects, we expect the details to evolve. It may be possible to achieve more than we lay out here, but it may also be more challenging than we predict. The specific technical work will evolve as people contribute better ideas, and we welcome all feedback on how to improve this.”

Adding: “Connecting the world is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. This is just one small step toward achieving that goal. I'm excited to work together to make this a reality.”

Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson also said: " We are committed to shaping the Networked Society – where everyone and everything will be connected in real time; creating the freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society. We believe affordable connectivity and internet access improves people's lives and helps build a more sustainable planet and therefore we are excited to participate in the initiative.”

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