The race is on ! Google with their balloons and Facebook with their mega drones want to give an internet access to the next billion ! Heavy investments, huge projects, major stakes are ahead of us. But, what if we could do the same with a “simple” Android application.The stakes are high, that’s obvious. When you look at the below map of the worldwide cellular coverage you instantly understand that the major part of the planet is not or badly covered by a cellular network. It is already quite an adventure sometimes, to get 3G in the heart of NYC or in the city of London to understand that in other remote places of this planet, it is almost impossible.
Almost ? Yes ! Impossible ? No !
The need for a mobile internet connection is growing bigger day by day.
People in developed countries are acquiring more and more smartphones. Indeed, thanks to some dedicated applications especially developed to help the Masais for instance or the paddy field farmers of south east Asia, mobile technologies can simplify and better their lives (see our recent article on the subject “When mobile technologies help fight hunger in the world”). However, what is the point in having a smartphone if you cannot get an internet connection ?
That is why Facebook launched just under a year ago its internet.org project.
Marck Zuckerberg want to provide an internet access to the next billion and more who are still not connected. To do so, the internet.org project teams are working on mega size drones that will fly for months in the stratosphere and bounce the internet signal back to areas with no data network. On its side, Google is working on a similar project called loon that intend to do the same with balloons.
So, the race is on ! The stakes are not high, they are simply huge ! But, the obstacles to achieve such a goal are even higher ! FAA authorization, technical maintenance, infrastructure investments being some of them…
In the meantime, what the next billion users require is a simple, light and straight forward way to get an internet connection through their smartphones. So rather than drones or balloons to connect the world, we have chosen to develop an Android application (80% of smartphones sold worldwide run Android).
It is available now, it is free to download and it allows to get an internet connection even with low or no data network, almost everywhere in the world…Have you tried it ?
Let’s stay connected !