By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
As a human being, I have certain rights that cannot be taken from me, such as life, speech, religion, and… internet access? Hey, that last one doesn’t sound real! Well, according to Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg, it is, which is why large tech companies like Facebook, Nokia, and Samsung have formed Internet.org to provide the world with affordable internet access.
What’s surprising, is that it’s not gadgets like smartphones or computers that are the most expensive, but the data for those devices. In the US, for example, an iPhone with a 2-year contract equals around $2,000! Apple never mentions that in any commercials, huh? So, while the phone may only cost $500, there’s a whopping $1,500 pricetag on data. Internet.org figures if they can reduce the cost of data, the estimated 4 billion people without internet can finally get online. “By reducing the cost and amount of data required for most apps and enabling new business models, Internet.org is focused on enabling the next 4 billion people to come online,” said Zuckerberg.
According to the organization’s website, “No one should have to choose between access to the internet and food or medicine.” So wait a minute, did they decide it was better to have internet access over healthcare? That notion doesn’t seem right to me, and apparently, it also doesn’t seem right to Microsoft’s founder and Chairman, Bill Gates. He said, “Certainly I’m a huge believer in the digital revolution. And connecting up primary-health-care centers, connecting up schools, those are good things. But no, those are not, for the really low-income countries, unless you directly say we’re going to do something about malaria.” Does Zuckerberg realize that these countries could really use basic resources like water and health care more than the internet? Yes, but he still believes that if you have a phone, you might as well be able to connect to the internet.
As of now, the organization is working on ways to make cheaper phones and data plans for the rest of the world.