Internet.org: What The Buzz Is All About?
Post By Shantanu Saxena on 08-July-2015
What happens when the youngest billionaire in the world and the top minds of six other tech companies come together? Yes! of course they sip Champaign, but what else? They come up with crazy ideas and then decide to put their R&D teams to work and try to make that idea into a world class product. Internet.org was also a similar project, a stupid idea by the CEO of Facebook, and six others, who stood by him.
Internet.org is a global initiative by Facebook, partnered by Nokia, Media Tek, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Opera and Samsung to bring internet to the two-thirds of the worlds' population which still doesn't has access to the internet. In its current form, it is an application which allows users to access certain websites and web apps for free over their cellular network.
These include AccuWeather, BBC News, Facebook, Messenger, Google Search, Wikipedia, Facts for Life and UNICEF, as well as a number of locally-specific apps such as India Today. Okay! Okay! I hear you Terminator fan boys; this does sound like a small scale version of 'Skynet', but believe me, the worst that can happen here is you guys opening up the free Google Search service and search for risqué pics of Emilia Clarke(Yeah! I love her as Sarah Connor too. Cheers!).Jokes apart, on paper this does look like a really great way to bring internet to the people who have been deprived of the great virtual world which has become the life force of us 33% who have access to it. But is it really worth it?
Mark Zukerberg was very clear in his 20 page explanation of Internet.org that since 90% of the world's population lives in parts that are covered by some sort of cellular network and hence this is a viable solution to provide almost everyone with internet, only the people who live there know the state of wireless connectivity in their surroundings. Further, the other question it raises is that is this initiative threatening net neutrality? Some say yes; others, no. But with the definition of net neutrality itself very shady, I don't think we have a proper answer to this question.
So, should this initiative be supported by governments, tech companies and the people it is aimed at? Well sitting at home with an optical fiber plugged into my laptop, I don't think I am the best person in the world to answer that question, so I will leave this to my fellow mates, who are concerned with the implementation and distribution of such technology, to debate and decide what's best for the world.