Unsurprisingly, social media has been closely tracking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s movements throughout his visit to Jakarta today. You probably already saw one of the photos of him doing an impromptu visit to Tanah Abang Market with President-elect Jokowi (god, can you imagine how bad the traffic was when their two entourages showed up to the perpetually gridlocked market?).
Or maybe you saw a photo of him speaking about Internet.org at the Four Seasons later in the day.
But do you know what Internet.org actually does, and why it has brought the Facebook founder to Indonesia? If you read the brief description in most media, including our own, you’d know that Internet.org is a Facebook initiative meant to help give the ⅔ of the world population that isn’t online access to the internet.
But how exactly will Internet.org accomplish such a huge feat? And what does it have to do with Indonesia?
According to a TechCrunch article that explains Internet.org in great detail, there’s an excellent reason for Zuckerberg to be visiting our country – Indonesia was actually the first pilot project for the initiative and what they accomplished here will be used as a template in other countries.
So what has Internet.org done in Indonesia so far? A lot, surprisingly. By “working directly with carriers to analyse and fix their networks,” in Indonesia, Facebook was able to speed up mobile network speeds by 70%, the company says.
It added, “Thanks to this research, we now have a replicable model for analyzing, measuring and improving network performance that can be applied to any mobile network.”
Facebook worked with Ericsson and mobile operator XL Axiata to improve their network speeds. The social network has become especially good friends with XL, as evidenced by this tweet:
So essentially, a large part of what Internet.org and Facebook are doing is optimizing networks so that they can transfer data (especially Facebook data) as efficiently as possible. These involve primarily software as opposed to hardware tweaks. Ultimately, the techniques learned in Indonesia will allow internet providers in other developing countries to improve the speed of their networks without having to invest in more costly hardware, which should further decrease the cost barriers for providers and customers.
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