MediaTek, Facebook and more joining forces to bring Web to all
By Kathryn Chiu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's largest integrated circuit (IC) design company MediaTek (聯發科技) on Wednesday announced partnerships of friends and foes including Facebook and Qualcomm, aiming to make the Internet accessible to the 5 billion people currently not surfing the Web.
August 22, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Mediatek yesterday published a press release announcing the launch of internet.org, a global partnership with the goal of making Internet access available to the next 5 billion people.
The founding members of internet.org — Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung — will develop joint projects, share knowledge and mobilize industry and governments to bring the world online.
MediaTek spokeswoman Sharon Luo yesterday played down her company's role in the partnership, pointing to Facebook as the standard-bearer.
Internet.org is influenced by the successful Open Compute Project, an industry-wide initiative that has lowered the costs of cloud computing by making hardware designs more efficient and innovative, she said.
Instead of commenting on whether MediaTek made any donation to internet.org, Luo stressed that Mediatek's help in enabling the next 5 billion people to come online will also help inject long-term growth momentum to her company's bottom line.
Today, only 2.7 billion people — just over one third of the world's population — have access to the Internet. Internet use is growing by less than 9 percent each year.
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, according to MediaTek's press release.
“As a world leader in mobile solutions for emerging markets and having powered more than 300 million smart devices within two years, MediaTek wholeheartedly supports the internet.org initiative,” said Ming-kai Tsai (蔡明介), chairman of MediaTek.
Another 'one laptop per child' project?
In order to expand Internet penetration, Facebook leans more on collaboration while Google in June kicked off its Lone project by beaming signals from giant balloons floating near space.
Zuckerberg and his allies have outlined some of their goals: making access affordable, using data more efficiently and lending businesses a hand so they can increase access.
However, the less-than-subtle failure of the “One Laptop per Child (OLPC)” project might raise worries over both Lone and internet.org.
OLPC is a project supported by the Miami-based OLPC Association and Cambridge-based OLPC Foundation, two U.S. nonprofit organizations set up to oversee the creation of affordable educational devices for use in the developing world. Two Taiwanese companies, ChiMei and Quanta, also funded the project as member companies.