Zuckerberg Explains Facebook’s Plan to Get Entire Planet Online

Steven Levy in Wired:

ScreenHunter_293 Sep. 01 18.16Last week, in an effort to reach this lofty goal, the Facebook CEO announced the establishment ofInternet.org, a consortium that allied his company with handset makers (Nokia, Samsung, Ericcson), a browser company (Opera), and network infrastructure manufacturers (Qualcomm, MediaTek). In a 10-page white paper shared on, yes, Facebook, he postulated that a connected world could address economic disparity and outlined a vision of even the poorest people connecting to low-cost, low-data versions of basic Internet services.

Reaction was mixed, both to the white paper and to the accompanying video, which used a John F. Kennedy speech to amplify a visual message that connectivity leads to better human relations. So WIRED welcomed the opportunity to discuss the plan face-to-face with Zuckerberg on the company’s Menlo Park, California campus. Here is the interview, edited for space and clarity.

WIRED: Why form a coalition to spread global connectivity?

Zuckerberg: The Internet is an important foundation in improving the world, but it doesn’t build itself. Over the past few years, we’ve invested more than a billion dollars in connecting people in developing countries. We have a product called Facebook for Every Phone, which provides our service on feature phones; it has 100 million users. But no one company or government can build out a full stack of infrastructure to support this around the world. So you need to work together with folks. Since we’ve announced Internet.org, we’ve heard from operators around the world and governments who want to work with us. This is going to provide momentum to make this work over the next 3 to 5 years, or however long it’s going to take.

More here.