This story is from the 2014 Access 25. Explore more from this issue

Internet for Everyone

Facebook is leading a group of Silicon Valley companies on a mission to bring the web to the world’s most remote corners.

Today only one-third of us have internet access — and all of the opportunities for economic advancement it affords. More troubling, access is growing at just 9 percent a year. Google and Facebook are among the tech giants aiming to change that. is a Facebook-led partnership including Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung that plans to launch new initiatives to bring internet access to the developing world. Goals include simplifying mobile phone applications, improving networks and infrastructure, and extending battery life so mobile devices are more practical in developing regions.

Google’s Free Zone, meanwhile, offers wireless users in some developing countries free access to Gmail, while Google’s Project Loon purports to be planning to beam internet access down to Earth from dirigibles more than 11 miles high in the atmosphere.

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