Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been in highlights for its efforts to provide internet connectivity to the underprivileged (in terms of internet connectivity) population of the world. While these efforts are certainly commendable, they might be focused on getting the biggest consumer base in one sweep.
Nearly 60% of the world’s population does not have internet access. This population includes rural areas where the network companies haven’t established any infrastructure for communication. According to the latest survey McKinsey & Company, nearly 3.4 billion of these people live across 20 countries. The population without any internet access whatsoever is scattered among different groups. Most important of these groups include rural, elderly, low income, illiterate and female populations.
The report estimates that nearly 920 million offline people are illiterate.
It is observed that female population is less likely to avail internet connectivity; this fact becomes more prominent in developing country. So, the problem of internet connectivity is not just technical; it is one of economy, of literacy and therefor a social problem.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is trying to solve the problem on technical level. The company has already begun to provide internet access to the deprived regions through airborne drones. Internet.org is another effort of the company to provide access to some selected sites through its web portal. These efforts intend to connect more and more people to the internet. As this larger population connects to internet ultimately to Facebook, the company will have largest user base than ever.
The company has recently released a basic version of their website. This site, called Facebook Lite, is intended to provide better user experience on low-end phones. Considering the internet.org and Facebook Lite, one can say that these efforts by the company are part of a long term strategy to extend into the unexplored market.