A planet-charting look at what happens when five billion new users finally get online

Companies are on a mission to connect the world—from the treetops to the clouds. Facebook first democratized the idea of ‘connecting the world from the sky’ in a white paper highlighting efforts to provide Internet access to urban and rural environments worldwide. Today, only one-third of the world can access the Internet, meaning that a knowledge gap between the connected and the not connected threatens to further divide us.

“Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our time. When people have access to the Internet, they can not only connect with their friends, family and communities, but they can also gain access to healthcare, education and financial services, and have a greater say in their societies,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg. As part of Facebook’s long-term strategy to provide Internet access to the 5 billion people without connectivity, the company has imagined drones and satellites that broadcast content in developing countries. With the implications of a shared global knowledge economy, Facebook is among a number of companies to invest in the future of computing and non-traditional infrastructures.

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