Monday, November 2, 2015

Zuckerberg Brings Internet to the World

Mark Zuckerberg wishes to bring the Internet to the four billion people around the world who do not have access to it.  The chief of Facebook has implemented this project called, rebranded last month as Freenet, in over 25 countries, but cannot seem to make an impact in India due to the service provider and what the term “free” really means.  Facebook is learning that it is going to take more than just good intentions and technological savvy to truly achieve universal Internet access.
Freenet is provided through the Indian cellphone carrier Reliance Communications.  One shop owner took down all advertisements for Freenet once he learned of its purpose, stating that “Reliance connection is very patchy.”  He would have to try very hard in order to sell the product, especially because even without Freenet, Reliance has a very slow network and their customer service is unreliable.  Freenet proposes free services such as “news articles, health and job information and a text-only version of Facebook.”  These limitations are to minimize data use and cost to Reliance.  Facebook stated that the main goal behind all of this is “to show people what the Internet is all about.”
Many people in India believe that if Facebook is trying to bring free Internet to the world, then they should be making the whole Internet free for a short period of time.  However, that is extremely expensive and it is impossible to make the whole Internet free to all users.  Most cellular service in India is prepaid, therefore most of the devices these people are using do not have Internet capability and they are the one’s speaking out about what should be completely free with Facebook’s program through Reliance.
Chris Daniels, who leads Freenet, restated that Facebook was attempting to “reach people who were new to the Internet.”  The company is investing a very large amount of their money into other aspects of the project such as attempting to deliver cheap Wi-Fi to remote villages and beam Internet service from drones.  Daniels also said that, “connectivity is something that improves people’s live. It’s an enabler for people to be able to help themselves find jobs, improve their health situation, and improve their education for themselves and their children.” 
Although many citizens in India may believe that this is a ploy to gain more Facebook users and generate their own personal business strategies, the company is truly trying to reach out and touch the world in a big way.  By allowing free Wi-Fi connection across the global there are endless possibilities for not only these new Internet users but internationally as well.  There are so many more opportunities for trading of resources and goods from country to country, and even more job opportunities.  Freenet is attempting to revolutionize the way we view the Internet, and once India see’s that they are entering a place where Internet accessibility is pertinent they will see just how drastically this project can change lives.

New York Times: 


  1. I have no doubt that in the end Facebook is doing this to probably help increase the number of their users. India has a population of 1.25 Billion people, it is second to only China in population which has 1.36 Billion. India's Population is also quickly growing and is predicted to overtake China in 2028. Although there is a lot of poverty in India, it is also a nation with a very fast developing GDP. With more money and more people, getting people hooked on the internet seems like a sure money maker for many. Only 24% of India currently has access to the internet. Although it is looking for some sort of gain, in my opinion, Mark Zuckerberg will undoubtedly be improving the lives for some people. Giving them access to the internet can help in education or healthy living. It can also inform more people about elections allowing them t to be more informed. Nevertheless, one this that I do question is that although the internet is available via Wi-Fi, how can people actually access it? Just because you can have access does not mean you have a device that can access it. Something that I would not assume Facebook would try to take up because the cost for providing such devices would be unbelievably high, but something I think should be taken into consideration.

  2. I believe that Facebook is entering India for the two purposes of increasing its users and spreading the internet (the former being more important). Although Zuckerberg probably thinks he is doing the people of India a favor by attempting to bring them the internet, he is simply showing them that if they are patient, free things will come to them. If Zuckerberg let India continue developing, eventually the internet could be accessed all around the country. Although it could be a major point of business, it could also be a potential loss for the company. I am also in complete agreement with a comment someone previously mentioned about how people were going to access the internet even if they did have access. It would take one huge donation to bring a bunch of computers and iPads to each Indian citizen. Ultimately, Zuckerberg is entering India to increase his top-line. However, he could end up helping some people if his efforts are successful.


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