Facebook’s Internet.Org Distributes Free Internet Via Mobile App In Zambia

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has publicly shared his desire to provide free Internet to third-world countries throughout the globe. In his eyes, having access to the Internet should be an intrinsic right and not just a privilege available only in first-world and second-world countries. So, his Internet.org foundation has finally made even more headway towards achieving his objectives.

In a partnership with Bharti Airtel, Internet.org announced that it will launch a special Facebook mobile app in Zamibia that comes with free Internet. Also, the Internet connectivity that comes with the app is free to its users. The positive consequences of this app are wide and varied. To start, it eases the burden of transporting communication, in addition to making the spread of information much easier. Imagine all the things and ways that people in Zamibia can share.

The app works by giving users free access to Facebook. The hope is that users will like the service so much that they decide to purchase an Internet plan through Airtel. However, it isn’t just Facebook that users can view. Here is the complete list:

  • AccuWeather
  • Airtel
  • eZeLibrary
  • Facebook
  • Facts for Life
  • Google Search
  • Go Zambia Jobs
  • Kokoliko
  • MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action)
  • Messenger
  • Wikipedia
  • WRAPP (Women’s Rights App)
  • Zambia uReport

It is easy for us in first or second-world countries to take for granted all of the information gleaned through the Internet. However, what this app can spark might even be beyond our imagination. Here is some information on global Internet usage, “85% of the 5 billion people without Internet simply can’t afford data plans. So Facebook’s accessibility initiative Internet.org today launches its Android and web app for the developing world with free data access to a limited set of services including Facebook, Messenger, Wikipedia, and Google Search. It also provides local health, employment, weather, and women’s rights resources.”

Think of it this way, millions of people will have the ability to be informed in ways they never have before. What could they do with all of that information? Perhaps improve their infrastructure? Provide better education in schools? Contribute to the world’s repository of engineers and scientists?

Internet.org was first launched in 2013. At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in February, Zuckerberg pitched the idea of carriers giving free basic Internet access to developing countries. Since then, Internet.org has partnered with Ericsson and opened what is called The Connectivity Lab.

In 2010, Facebook launched Zero, which gave developing countries a stripped-down version of Facebook. Of course, Zamibia is only the start. Internet.org plans to provide similar types of resources to other countries with limited Internet connectivity in the future.

This bodes well for Facebook in several ways. One, it is great PR for the company, especially when data shows that most of its growth is coming from outside the U.S and Europe. On the other hand, these basic users may one day end up to be power users and they won’t forget that it was Facebook who made the Internet a reality for them.

What do you think about Facebook’s app? Let us know in the comments section below!


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