Facebook's Sandberg: Cost of Internet must drop

Sheryl Sandberg
Getty Images
Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg said global development will be hampered until the cost of accessing the Internet falls and more people in the developing world are online.

"The only way we're going to make more data accessible and unleash all the potential ... is if it gets cheaper," the company's chief operating officer said Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Sandberg said as much as 60 percent of the world still needs online access. But 1 in 6 people live on less than $1.25 a day and the average Internet user pays $1 a day just for data.

After all, Sandberg said, technology "gives voice to people who have historically not had it."

Read MoreFace to Face: Arianna Huffington and Paulo Coelho

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella agreed.

"Low-cost bandwidth is a must for economic development to reach everyone," Nadella said, speaking on the same "Future of the Digital Economy" panel. "If you want to solve inequity issues and give opportunities to everyone, let's start by getting that infrastructure."

Nadella said there were many solutions, but he noted that Microsoft was particularly interested in using television "white space"—bandwidth between channels—to give Internet access.

Read MoreTHIS is tech bet of our lifetime, PE titan says