Facebook and a bunch of wireless carriers are getting together to make it easier for the rest of humanity (5 Billion people) to get online.
An excerpt from Tuesday’s press release:
More specifically, how do they want to do it?
Vindu Goel writes on The NYT that
The immediate goals of the new coalition are to cut the cost of providing mobile Internet services to 1 percent of its current level within five to 10 years by improving the efficiency of Internet networks and mobile phone software. The group also hopes to develop new business models that would allow phone companies to provide simple services like e-mail, search and social networks for little or no charge.
On top of that, the coalition plans to optimize the amount of data needed for apps to work on cheap data plans. As an example, Vindu says a typical Facebook user on Android “consumes” 12MB a day. Facebook, as part of these efforts, wants to cut that down to 1MB.
Of course neither Facebook nor the other members of the coalition are doing it as a charitable exercise. They are doing it with the hope that as the unnetworked masses start to use the Web, their services’ usage goes up (which they would then monetize). But at the same time, the masses will also start to use and hopefully benefit from other commercial and non-commercial services. So everyone comes out ahead.
Which is why I think this is pretty laudable.