There is a very strong push right now by tech companies to bring the developing world onto the Internet. This is driven by two factors. 1. In the developed world, growth of Internet users is slowing. Therefore companies are looking to get new customers. 2. The technology to bring remote areas online is getting cheaper and easier to do.
With this in mind here are two related stories.
Facebook told a few members of the press this week that its Internet.org initiative, which aims get more of the world’s population online, is on track for an aggressive expansion.
Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org at Facebook, said the company plans to expand into 100 countries by the end of the year. The program is currently set up in six countries — Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Colombia and India — and has helped more than 7 million people access health, employment and local information services without data charges.
Facebook is having trouble spending it’s money fast enough so this makes sense for them. The more people online, the more valuable their data set is.
Google is doing something very radical but with a similar goal as Facebook. They have a project called Loon, which uses stratospheric balloons to create Internet connection nodes. They aren’t thinking small either.
As Cassidy speaks, his voice rises with excitement, and you can recognize the former startup savant coming to the fore. “Think about it — with 4.5 billion people without internet access, take 5 percent; you’re talking 250 million people,” he says. If those people pay just a small portion of their monthly income, say $5 a piece, “you’re going to be in a billion dollars a month in revenue, tens of billions a year in revenue. So it’s good business, too.”
I suggest reading that whole article, it’s very interesting.
So wow. Think about that. 250 million people dumped onto the net. How many of those people will be looking to get an education online? Somebody is going to serve that market and whoever solves that problem with change the face of education.