Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get the entire world on the Internet. He announced a new initiative called Internet.org, which unites Facebook with major tech companies like Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930), QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V).
The end goal of the initiative is to make it possible for the entire world to be able to access the Internet. Currently about four million people around the globe do not have access to the World Wide Web.
Slashing the costs of providing Internet
The Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) executive said right now the main focus of Internet.org involves reducing the costs and needs associated with providing Internet service. Vindu Goel of The New York Times reports that Facebook itself is planning to work on cutting how much data its app needs every day from 12 mb to 1 mb. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is apparently working on ways to extend battery life and create better Wi-Fi networks.
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Of course while this initiative may seem like a major humanitarian effort, we can’t overlook the business implications it has. After all, if only one out of seven people are using Facebook now, think about how many more the social network could add if the four billion people who don’t have Internet access are suddenly able to get online.
Expanding into emerging markets makes sense
The same is true for other tech companies taking part in Internet.org. The more people who have access to technology infrastructure, the more customers these tech companies are likely to have. Therefore, it’s in their best interests to take on some of the costs associated with building the infrastructure. They may have to pay for it all up front, but the goal is to build out possibilities for expansion within their own businesses.
We’re seeing more and more how emerging markets are playing an important role in the expansion of tech companies. For example, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been partnering with some phone carriers in developing countries so that they can offer free Gmail access to users. The search giant’s Project Loon is also aimed at bringing Internet access into developing and emerging markets, although it involves beaming service down through plastic balloons in the atmosphere.