recommended reading

How Much Good Will Facebook's Internet-for-Everyone Plan Do?

Flickr user babyben

Facebook along with six other telecom and tech companies has unveiled a grand plan to bring Internet connectivity to the 4 billion humans who don't yet have access, a move that "tries to pair humanitarian goals with the profit motive," as The New York Times's Vindu Goel explains it. You can read all about the plan here, and watch a video, complete with JFK speech voiceover, about it at Internet.org, the effort's online home. The idea sounds incredible. But that's about as far as this dream goes. Much like Elon Musk's Hyperloop, the devil is in the details. I's not exactly clear how Zuckerberg and co. have a plan to get the Internet to the untethered masses or if it's the best way to do so. 

But set that aside for a second: what is the humanitarian goal these for-profit organizations are trying to attain? In a paper called "Is Connectivity a Human Right?" we get a "rough outline" of how the group plans on getting Internet everywhere:

  • Making internet access affordable by making it more efficient to deliver data.
  • Using less data by improving the efficiency of the apps and experiences we use.
  • Helping businesses drive internet access by developing a new model to get people online

The report then elaborates on the making the Internet more efficient part, which is the important part it ensures the following: "If the industry can collectively make progress here, then it is possible for operators to build even more profitable models while offering data at significantly lower costs per megabyte." (Emphasis ours.) All of the technical improvements — like stronger signals, cheaper caching, and getting the government to allocate spectrum "more efficiently" — have to not just maintain, but increase profit margins for those involved. What doesn't get much discussion is what benefit the 4 billion people Facebook hopes to connect will get from all this. Even that is cast in business benefit. "Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy."

Read the entire story at Quartz.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.