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  • Facebook’s controversial endeavour to take internet access global
  • Facebook’s controversial endeavour to take internet access global
    UNAMID, Creative Commons (2012) ©
CASE STUDY

Free Basics: making the internet accessible to all

If the internet were a country, it would be the fifth largest economy all on its own, but just 43% of people have access to it. Since 2013, Facebook has been working alongside names including Samsung and Qualcomm to fix this. But could making the internet accessible to all really be so simple?

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Scope
If the internet were a country, it would be the fifth largest economy all on its own. [1] Yet its bounty isn’t shared equally around the world. While in London you could be reading this via a WiFi connection on the Underground, globally only around 43% of the population has internet access, even though 78% live in areas with access to mobile broadband coverage. [2]

Seizing on this discrepancy, in 2013, Facebook set up Internet.org; a partnership with Samsung, Ericsson, Opera Software, Nokia, Qualcomm and MediaTek. [3] It endeavours to “bring internet ...

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