By Jon Castelhano, CIO Advisor
Have You Heard
Newsflash, the Internet has changed the world! I know, I shouldn't have let that secret out, but think about how quickly we have become a global community and it is truly amazing. For most of us we work, play and communicate daily from our multiple devices, but there are still billions of people that do not have access to the Internet.
In the Sky
By now everyone knows that Google is filling the sky with balloons to bring the Internet to rural and remote areas. If you have 4 minutes, watch how Loon works. It is amazing what humans can do when they have the desire to innovate. The project has begun testing in New Zealand and most recently has asked for volunteers in California's Central Valley area to participate in generating traffic. Like all big news makers, there has been some criticism of Google putting the cart before the horse with Loon, but we all know you need a solid infrastructure before adding devices.
Recently Facebook has been in the press with its Internet everywhere initiative through internet.org. Zuckerberg's plans are a bit different than Loon, as he imagines bringing the Internet to world through mobile phones. The plan doesn't seem quite as flashy as sending up giant balloons that ride on the edge of space, but having the power of mobile carriers on your team is never a bad thing. My only thought is thinking about driving to my family's house in the White Mountains of Arizona. It is difficult enough getting solid 4G service in the town that they live, much less on the ride there. If establishing a reliable cell network in our country isn't easy to do, what will it be like in a third-world country?One Request
I am excited that Facebook and the other corporate giants involved are working to help connect other nations around the world that lack the infrastructure to become part of a global society. Internet.org's focus will be on these emerging markets, and I am ok with that as we will all benefit and grow as a world if we are connected. Just one request: Don't lose sight of the emerging markets that have no access right here in our own rural and less-fortunate neighborhoods.
Jon Castelhano is director of technology for Apache Junction USD in Arizona. This blog is cross posted on his blog, This and That.