Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes that Google and Facebook are not the companies most responsible for connecting the countries which still do not have Internet. He says that drones, satellites and Internet balloons are not the ones deserving the credit; it’s the telecom operators.
Zuckerberg had an inspiring speech on the stage of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, talking about the efforts and investments of the telecom operators driving the project to new limits. He added that Facebook Inc. is willing to help, because they want their social network to remain one of the most accessed around the world.
His speech was meant to woo telecom operators into convincing them to embrace Internet.org, the project initiated for bringing internet to those countries which are still developing. Zuckerberg hopes to get the operators on board with his project of offering countries like India and Zambia free access to a basic package, containing services like Facebook, educational resources and health information.
In order to get his project running, Zuckerberg made a scary preposition of partnering with telecom companies. Building the required infrastructure in order to connect everyone is a costly business, and telecom operators are reluctant to accept Zuckerberg’s plans.
One of their concerns is his idea of making text messaging a free service included in Internet.org, which is one of the traditional offering bringing money to operators. Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas, also attending the congress, explained that it is understandable that any company would take extra caution before handing their house keys to the competition.
But Zuckerberg’s project is based on a two-way partnership with these companies; Internet.org will be dependent on the fiber and cell towers provided by telecom operators, stopping it from eating its way into industry’s bottom line.
Facebook Inc. is currently in the business of creating its own infrastructure technology, such as drones and satellites which would provide connectivity in the world’s most rural areas. However, Zuckerberg admitted that the near future is still of the practical standard cables and cell towers, and it will be long before their technology would be suitable alternatives.
This is the reason for Zuckerberg’s telecom industry oriented speech. He tried to assure them that the Internet.org team is on their side, asking them to reevaluate the way they think about revenues. For example, Mark explained that, in the smartphone age, voice calls and text messages must give way to data usage, which is also what will fuel the new kind of telecom businesses.
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