One of Mark Zuckerberg's stated goals is to connect everyone around the world to the Internet. He even started an entire organization dedicated to it last month. The goal is simple, but a big question looms: how exactly is this going to be done?
The answer: by lowering both costs and data.
Zuckerberg and Internet.org, the project he started with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, revealed some more specifics about how they plan to get the next five billion people around the world oline in a video that was put out on Monday.
Getting everyone online is important, Zuckerberg said, because it democratizes ideas.
The world is moving away from a "resourced based" economy, which meant that only one person could own each thing, to a "knowledge economy," where multiple people can know the same thing "because we share knowledge and information," Zuckerberg said.
"The Internet is really the backbone of the knowledge economy. If everyone had access to those basic tools, we'd all be able to benefit from all of the innovation and creativity and ideas that everyone had."
What Zuckerberg, and the organization, want to do is make it so that all a person needs is a phone to join the knowledge economy. And to do that, he said, the Internet needs to be one hundred times more affordable than it is now.
And here is how he plans to do it:
- Reduce the cost to server data by 10 times
That will mean "building out infrastructure that makes signals travel father so that we don't have to build out as many cell phone towers, to cleaning up the airwaves and using spectrum more efficiently, to building out low-cost, open source hardware and phones," he said.
- Reduce the amount of data by 10 times
"First, we can just make our apps cache data instead of request data every time that they want to look something up. Second, they can compress the data so they only have to transfer 40% of the data that they would otherwise have to if it weren't compressed."
Facebook only exists because Zuckerberg had Internet access and "a few basic tools that gave me what I needed to build this for the world."
Now he wants to give that same opportunity to everyone around the world.
though he will have to compete with Google's Project Loon, which wants to bring Internet access to the world using solar powered balloons.
They will float 20 kilometers above the earth, in the stratosphere, higher than the altitude at which most planes travel. In the stratosphere, wind is layered and go in particular directions, so Google can actually steer the balloons by going up and down between the different layers.
Once the balloons are up in the air, there are special annetenas on the ground that are used to communicate with them. Each antenna talks to a balloon, and then each balloon talks to the other balloons, and then back to a ground station, which is connected to the local Internet provider. This, essentially, creates a network in the sky.
Watch the full video below: