Calling the Internet a "foundation of the global knowledge economy" in his open letter posted on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) , CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the development of Internet.org, a partnership with tech leaders including Qualcomm, Ericsson, Samsung, Opera, Media Tek, and Nokia to foster Internet connectivity for users around the world.
According to Zuckerberg's letter, 2.7 billion people, just over a third of the earth's population, have access to the Internet, leaving an estimated 5 billion people without Internet alternatives. Zuckerberg and the other founding members' plan is tied closely with the proliferation of smartphones around the world and making the data plans necessary for Internet access available for all.
The difficulty of providing Internet access for everyone, according to Zuckerberg, includes the cost of data plans and the requisite infrastructure and that potential Internet users either don't have smartphones or, if they do, don't appreciate the value of the Internet.
Zuckerberg's "rough plan" focuses on three key aspects of global Internet connectivity: making it affordable by improving data delivery efficiencies, using less data by improving apps, and developing a new model to get people online.
Commenting on the Internet.org initiative, Zuckerberg said, "Connecting the world will be one of the most important things we all do in our lifetimes."