The Networked Society will bring significant economic, social and environmental benefits to hundreds of millions of people, one of which is providing internet access to the remaining two-thirds of the planet.

Today (Aug 21, 2013), Ericsson, Facebook and a number of other tech giants took a step closer to realizing these benefits through the announcement of a global initiative we call Through this, we aim to reduce the cost of delivering basic internet services and make them available to everyone, everywhere.

So, why is this initiative so important? In the Networked Society, connectivity is the starting point for new ways of innovating, collaborating and socializing. It’s about creating freedom, empowerment and opportunity, transforming industries and society while helping find solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our planet.

Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, says: "For more than 100 years, Ericsson has been enabling communications for all, and today more than 6 billion people have access to mobile communications. We are committed to shaping the Networked Society – where everyone and everything will be connected in real time; creating the freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society. We believe affordable connectivity and internet access improves people’s lives and helps build a more sustainable planet, and therefore we are excited to participate in the initiative."

Some of the initial areas that are considered barriers to increasing access to the internet are the cost of smartphones, the cost of delivering data, and inefficient data-hungry applications. Cheaper phones, improved data compression techniques, and apps that use less data and reduce battery usage are some of the initial areas of investigation. Others include more efficient allocation of spectrum, edge caching, sharing hardware design, and efficiency optimization.

Ericsson has several areas of expertise to offer the initiative, including: knowledge of scale, its global presence and local expertise, and its technology leadership in the area of mobile networks and supporting service enablers.

Ericsson believes that communication is a basic human need, and fulfilling this has been our mission since the foundation of our company.