The first-ever Internet.org Summit kicked off in New Delhi, India, Thursday, and highlights included a talk by Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as the introduction of the Internet.org Innovation Challenge, which is aimed at recognizing efforts toward connecting people in India who currently lack Internet access.
The goal of Internet.org – the initiative launched in August 2013 by Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung — is to connect the 4.4 billion people who currently lack access to the Internet, but a mission on such a large scale is not without barriers, and a study released Wednesday by McKinsey & Co., “Offline and Falling Behind: Barriers to Internet Adoption” (embedded below), examines those barriers.
Zambia may seem like an odd choice for the site of an application’s launch, but it makes perfect sense when the developer of that app has a mission statement of connecting the rest of the world. Internet.org – the global partnership formed last August by Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung to “connect the next 5 billion people” — announced the launch of its app, starting with Airtel subscribers in Zambia.
Those may have been the drones Facebook was looking for, but they now belong to Google. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google will acquire Titan Aerospace, a near-orbital, solar-powered drone manufacturer that the social network was reportedly in talks to acquire last month, with an eye toward using its Solara 60 unmanned aerial vehicles to help provide Internet access to unserved parts of the world, starting with Africa, as part of the Internet.org initiative.
Facebook’s Connectivity Lab: Drones, Planes, Satellites, Lasers To Further Internet.org Mission Of Bringing Connectivity To The Whole World
Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a drone from Facebook? The social network Thursday announced the formation of the Connectivity Lab, which is made up of experts who previously worked with U.K.-based Ascenta, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.
Facebook Head of Global Connectivity Chris Weasler said in an interview with FierceWireless at the 2014 GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, last week that the social network has no plans to build or operate a wireless network of its own.
Facebook joined mobile carriers association GSMA last November, and Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will team up with technology journalist and writer David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, for a keynote session Monday, Feb. 24, at the 2014 GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.