Everyone should have access to basic Internet services, Zuckerberg argued in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg this week argued that a basic level of Internet service should be as readily available as access to 911.
“In the future, everyone should have access to basic Internet services … even if they haven’t paid for a data plan,” Zuckerberg wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. “And just as basic phone services encouraged more people to get phones, basic Internet services will encourage many more people to get a data plan.”
He pointed to the fact that anyone can call 911 even without a phone plan. A similar option for the Web should also exist, he argued.
With two-thirds of the Earth’s population lacking Web access, “connecting everyone is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation,” Zuckerberg said.
The Facebook founder has already started to tackle the issue via Internet.org, an organization that counts Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung amongst its members, and pledges to develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilize industry and governments to bring the world online.
Those projects, for Facebook at least, include a Connectivity Lab that is looking at drones – as well as satellites and lasers – to assist in providing Internet access worldwide. In March, Facebook acquired U.K.-based Ascenta, whose five-person team worked on early versions of Zephyr, the longest-flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft.
Zuckerberg predicted “the greatest revolution” is yet to come, “as billions of people connect to the Internet for the first time.”
“Perhaps the most important change might be a new global sense of community. Today we can only hear the voices and witness the imaginations of one-third of the world’s people,” he wrote. “We are all being robbed of the creativity and potential of the two-thirds of the world not yet online. Tomorrow, if we succeed, the Internet will truly represent everyone.”
And everyone, presumably, will then connect to Facebook. Or Google, which is also making its own push for global Internet access. The search giant is using Internet balloons via Project Loon to connect the globe, and recently purchased a satellite firm for even higher-flying Internet options. For more, check out the slideshow above.