Facebook has announced the launch of Internet.org, a new initiative aimed at bringing the benefits of Internet access to everyone on the planet through collaboration within the tech industry.

The social networking giant has joined hands with a range of partners — including Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung — to kick start the organization, which it says will work closely with NGOs, mobile operators and tech firms to make Internet access more affordable, data more efficient, and technology cheaper and more accessible.

Facebook estimates that some 5 billion people — or two-thirds of the world — are without Internet access, and it wants to change that.

“There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it,” CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg explains.

internet dot org 730x264 Facebook and telecom partners launch Internet.org to drive universal, global Internet access

Internet.org ups Facebook’s commitment to connecting every person on the planet to the Web by involving worldwide players within the telecom industry, which have the power to make lower cost Internet a reality.

For example, of the launch partners, Opera provides the means for emerging market users to access the Web with a minimal footprint of data, MediaTek and Qualcomm’s chipsets help power devices (and could enable cheaper phones) while Nokia, of course, provides handsets and has a strong brand and track record in the emerging world.

Already Facebook works with operators to provide free access to its service — using the Facebook Zero program — while its ‘Facebook for Every Phone’ app has more than 100 million monthly active users, the vast majority of which are in emerging markets.

That’s just a glimpse ofwhat  Facebook can do on its own, let alone what an industry alliance fronted by one of the world’s most popular Internet sites is capable of.

While at an early stage, Internet.org has vast potential for the world — and more Internet users is good for Facebook and its partners, of course.

➤ Technology Leaders Launch Partnership to Make Internet Access Available to All [Facebook]

Headline image via westm / Flickr