Aug 21 Facebook Inc's Chief Executive
Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for
a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the
world who can't afford it, mirroring efforts by Google Inc
The project is called Internet.org and will be launched
Wednesday. It focuses on enabling the next 5 billion people
without access to come online, Zuckerberg said.
"The goal of Internet.org is to make Internet access
available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet
connected and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that
the connected third of the world has today," said Zuckerberg.
Other players in the project include Ericsson,
MediaTek Inc, Nokia, and Opera Software ASA
The partnership will develop lower-cost, higher-quality
smartphones and deploy Internet access in underserved
communities, Facebook said. ()
Google said in June that it had launched a small network of
balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes
could bring reliable Internet access to the world's most remote
That pilot program, Project Loon, took off in June from New
Zealand's South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude
balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers), or
twice as high as airplanes, above the ground, Google said.