The Net has been buzzing lately with news about the expansion of Mark Zuckerberg’s latest pet project Internet.org. It turns out the Facebook founder plans on launching a satellite into space, with the aim of providing internet access to remote parts of the world.
Since the launch of the project in 2013, Internet.org has been partnering with multinational organisations and regional groups to provide the infrastructure to support the service. Bringing together experts from around the world so that people living and working in some of the most remote areas of Africa and Asia are able to access selected internet services, allowing them the ability to farm more efficiently, or to assist rescue operations after disasters such as the recent Nepalese earthquake.
Zuckerberg said: “Connectivity changes lives and communities. We’re going to keep working to connect the entire world – even if that means looking beyond our planet.”
However the scheme isn’t without controversy. Campaigners including internet inventor Tim Berners-Lee say that restricting internet access only to selected sites that the founders, mostly senior members of the business community, shouldn’t dictate what sites people are able to access. The recent debate in America regarding so-called “Net Neutrality” highlighted the belief by many that internet access should be open and available, rather than subject to limited or stepped access based on a business model. Despite good intentions, this scheme has many people worrying that the internet freedoms enjoyed by many in the west would be restricted to those who are unable to argue for them.
Internet.org is expected to go live in the next few years.
What do you think of Internet.org? Do you support the project’s aims, or do you worry about the implications on net-neutrality?