INTERNET FOR EVERYONE J. Strika, L. Hollingsworth A. Johnson, J. Hermitt
Introduction“There have been moments in history where the invention of new technology has completely rewired the way our society lives and works. The printing press, radio, television, mobile phones and the Internet are among these. In the coming decades, we will see the greatest revolution yet, as billions of people connect to the Internet for the first time” (Zuckerberg, 2014).
Since the turn of the century, the telecommunications industry has invested trillions of dollars to deploy a robust network of cables, satellites, and microwave towers across countries and continents in order to provide today’s Internet users with high-speed, reliable access. In…show more content… For example, SpaceX projects their satellite internet access revenues will dwarf their space launches by 2021, reaching $30BN in annual revenue by 2025 (Winkler & Singleton, 2017). And Alphabet’s X research arm estimates that annual revenues from their balloon-based Internet venture could reach $10BN (Popper, 2015). Despite his alluded benevolence, Mark Zuckerberg confirms that capitalism is alive at Facebook:
You offer a little bit of the Internet free, and more people start using data, and more people can access the Internet and access these tools, but also more people start paying for data once they understand what they would use the Internet for, and
These operators end up making more money, and it ends up being more profitable for everyone. This will work if providing free basic services actually ends up being a way for them to get more paying customers and more people online (Chang & Frier, 2015).
For Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and others, new Internet users are potential new services users. New users increase the amount of data collected, which is then in turn used to attract advertisers.
Why Solve This Problem? — The Societal Perspective
While we are not so callow as to envision universal Internet access alone as a panacea for global poverty, the underlying societal benefits provide evidence that many of those without access