In a new video posted to Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg explains some of the specific steps being taken by his company and others in the Internet.org alliance to help bring billions online. With a combination of technical and political savvy, they hope to make the Internet 100 times more affordable.
Zuckerberg explains a few of the methods that the tech companies involved are looking into. For instance, by extending the range of antennas and relays, infrastructure builders can reach distant areas with fewer towers (and less cost). And by using compression algorithms on everyday data, the amount of bits and bytes needed to watch a video or download an article can be reduced.
Things have to change at the level of the phone, too. "Low-cost, open-source hardware," says Zuckerberg, will be critical to keeping costs down. And simple techniques like caching data on the phone so it doesn't have to be re-downloaded will keep bandwidth costs low and improve battery life.
The idea is that reducing the cost of Internet connections by 10x, combined with reducing the amount of data sent by 10x, will result in a hundredfold increase in affordability and access. Of course, that refers to the delivery of essential connectivity for educational and medical purposes — we're not talking about Netflix binging here.
With big industry partners like Samsung and Qualcomm, such goals may not be unreachable, though they will require a good deal of time and money. You can find out more about the effort to bring Web access to as many as possible at the Internet.org website.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.