Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, announced today the formation of the Internet.org partnership between seven technology companies to take internet access to "the two thirds of the world who are not yet connected".
"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," Zuckerberg said in a statement.
"Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."
The founding members of Internet.org consists of Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm, with the partnership intending to share tools, resources, and best practices in an effort to lower the cost of access to the online world, decrease the amount of bandwidth used in software and networks, and support businesses that help people get online.
"Universal internet access will be the next great industrial revolution," said Nokia CEO Stephen Elop.
While the partnership has not announced any projects that it will be undertaking, potential projects flagged were developing lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones, working on data compression tools, building cache systems, and creating frameworks for apps to reduce bandwidth usage.
Google is currently working on Project Loon, an effort to bring internet access to the developing world with balloons.
The project announced today that it is seeking volunteers in California's Central Valley to have a Loon Internet antenna installed on their home to help test the connection. When a Loon balloon flies overhead, the antenna will generate traffic to load-test the service.