MWC 2016 LIVE: Zuckerberg warns mobile industry not to ignore the unconnected

Mark Zuckerberg Mobile World Congress 2016

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, warned Congress delegates not to overlook the task of connecting some four billion people that still don’t have access to the web.

Under questioning, he expressed “disappointment” that the 5G industry focus was on connecting things rather than the unconnected, and that there was a danger of just providing “faster connections” for rich people.

If that trend continued, argued Zuckerberg, there was a likelihood of making only a small dent in the unconnected number when Congress meets in 2020. “We need to finish the job of internet access,” he said.

Internet.org, a Facebook initiative launched three years ago to connect the world’s population, has made significant progress, insisted Zuckerberg, despite a major setback in India where the Free Basics service was banned.

Free Basics offers users free access to a certain range of data services – including the social network – but not the full internet. Much to the delight of ardent net neutrality supporters, who felt Free Basics and its use of zero rating unfairly manipulated internet usage, India’s authorities ruled against it.

Zuckerberg, however, gave no sign of wanting to change the Free Basics model. “Every country is different,” he said pragmatically, pointing out that Free Basics was still available in 38 countries and that it was responsible for attracting 19 million more people to the internet who didn’t have access before.

“I can’t think of any other project that has had such a big impact,” said the Facebook CEO.

He also claimed that 50 per cent of Free Basics users, after using the service for a month, opted for a paid data package from operators.

Aside from Free Basics, Zuckerberg emphasised other aspects of Internet.org, plus his desire to cooperate with operators and other ecosystem players to work together to lower infrastructure costs for expanding internet access into difficult-to-reach places. This, he suggested, might feed into lower data prices for consumers.

Zuckerberg expects to ramp up tests of solar-powered drones, equipped with laser technology to provide internet access, starting later this year, and that he would be in talks with operators about ways to deploy them.

The Facebook CEO also flagged Telecom Infra Project, a newly-launched engineering-focused initiative from Facebook designed to bring together operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators and other tech companies to develop new approaches to infrastructure.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How COVID-19 is throttling vital migration flows

UN rights chief Bachelet appeals for dialogue in Sudan amid reports ‘70 killed’ in demonstrations

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

Coronavirus: harmonised standards for medical devices to respond to urgent needs

Turkey: Extension of EU humanitarian programmes supporting 1.7 million refugees receives green light

Health services for Syrian women caught up in war, foster safety and hope: UNFPA

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

EU plans to exploit the Mediterranean Sea and the wealth beneath it

An entrepreneurial point-of view on tackling the migration crisis and the risks of abolishing Schengen

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

Three ways to improve your corporate culture in the #MeToo era

Social inclusion: how much should young people hope from the EU? 

Athens urged to fast track asylum seekers amid island shelters crisis – UNHCR

Vaccination: understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

What India’s route to universal health coverage can teach the world

To what extent are our moral standards responsible for killing people?

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

How to describe chronic pain beyond numbers? A Brazilian measuring instrument

Security Council must ‘come together’ to address the plight of children trapped in armed conflict, says UN envoy

Mental health as a tool of survival at the Pandemic

European Youth calls on European Council for urgent action on “humanitarian crisis” and questions the EU/Turkey deal respect of human rights

Future EU financing and recovery: MEPs to assess summit outcome

When will Eurozone’s unemployment rate stop being Europe’s worst nightmare?

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes new polling dates following election delays

Fairness should be at the heart of the agricultural goods trade

Vaccination: understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccination campaigns

A Sting Exclusive: “The Digital Economy and Industry are no longer opposing terms”, Commissioner Oettinger underlines live from European Business Summit 2015

Tiny Iceland teaches the West how to treat bankers

Women’s rights and how medical students can act as aides of progressive change

The results of Finland’s basic income experiment are in. Is it working?

We can decide to live within the limits of our planet

Promoting Health in the Brazilian Amazon: one nation but many cultures

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding ‘dramatic’ escalation in conflict across the Gaza-Israel border

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

CO2 can be a valuable raw material, not just a climate killer. Here’s how

Scientists have created biodegradable microneedles to fight eye disease

Annual UN women activists’ summit opens with focus on services, infrastructure

How start-ups will lead India through the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

EU and UK soon to be in a post-Brexit rush over free trade agreement with Australia

Commission and EIB provide CureVac with a €75 million financing for vaccine development and expansion of manufacturing

Could entrepreneurship be the real cure against the side effects of Brexit?

Rebuilding after COVID: The challenge is digital

Medical students: catalysts to close the gender gap

How the world can ‘reset’ itself after COVID-19 – according to these experts

Threat to biodiversity risks a flood of economic ruin

One third of poorer countries face both undernutrition and obesity: WHO report

State aid: Commission approves €900 million Slovenian scheme to support uncovered fixed costs of companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

Google case: A turning point in competition rules enforcement

Australia’s bushfires have pumped out half a year’s CO2 emissions

How Eurozone consumers spend their income when they have one…

25 years after population conference, women still face challenges to ‘well-being and human rights’, says UN chief

Cheese energy could power hundreds of UK homes

5G: How a ‘legion of robots’ could help save the rhino

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Sponsored content: when QUALITY meets OPEX in manufacturing

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s