(Reuters) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he spoke with Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, inviting the social media tycoon to partner with him in a bid to promote universal internet access in Mexico.
Lopez Obrador posted on both Facebook and Twitter a short clip of his video conference with Zuckerberg in which the president notes that a fifth of Mexico’s population does not have internet access and that he would like better connectivity to help improve social conditions, especially among the poor.
No hace falta viajar con frecuencia al extranjero, ahora podemos comunicarnos mediante videoconferencias. Así conversé el día de hoy con Mark Zuckerberg, fundador de Facebook y accionista de WhatsApp e Instagram. El tema es cumplir el compromiso de que haya internet para todos. pic.twitter.com/ELnLhwcLUB
— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) June 18, 2019
“This is a program to communicate, inform, improve education, health at a very low cost,” said Lopez Obrador, who later invited Zuckerberg to participate in an unspecified form of partnership with the government.
Zuckerberg does not speak in the clip, and Lopez Obrador did not give additional details of the partnership beyond suggesting the effort should build on existing infrastructure, especially electricity lines, and that it should not seek to turn a profit.
“We had the opportunity to discuss the life-changing potential of connectivity with President Lopez Obrador,” a Facebook representative said in a statement to Reuters.
The representative did not confirm any potential tie-ups between the company and the Mexican government to boost internet access, but instead pointed to existing partnerships with internet providers “to create thousands of WiFi hot spots and boost access in rural communities across Mexico.”
To date, the social network has partnered with providers including Viasat and Hughes in Mexico.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker)