Facebook to offer internet access in Zambia

Fiona McKenzie
Posted August 1, 2014 from France

My day job involves continually trawling the net to keep abreast of developments in the news business, both print and digital. Following on from my last post about getting the internet into remote parts of Africa, I thought people might be interested to know that FaceBook have just launched the Internet.org app (check out http://internet.org)

The following article (http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/07/31/facebook-offers-app-with-free-acc...) gives some background on the app.

"Facebook’s newest mobile app doesn’t compete with other apps, like Snapchat. It competes with being offline. The social network said Thursday it had launched an Internet.org app in Zambia to provide free access to Facebook and other online services to people who might otherwise have no Internet access. The app is a partnership with India’s Bharti Airtel and available only to Bharti subscribers in Zambia.

Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative aimed at getting more people online. Facebook says only 30% of the world uses the Internet, though 85% of the population lives within range of cellular data connections. Cost is a barrier. To reduce concerns, Facebook has been urging mobile carriers in developing nations to let customers try Facebook for free, arguing that some users would later buy a data connection.

The Internet.org app, which is designed to work on low-end Android phones and feature phones, expands Facebook’s efforts to get people online. Facebook says it’s talking with mobile carriers in other countries about offering the app, and not charging for data to use it.

“Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to Internet adoption for many,” said Guy Rosen, a product management director for Internet.org, in a statement.

With the Internet.org app, users can also get access to services like AccuWeather, Google Search and Wikipedia without paying for a data connection."

Through the Internet.org app, Airtel customers in Zambia will have basic access to: 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

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Comments 2

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Mary S
Aug 19, 2014
Aug 19, 2014

Hi Fiona

This is a great idea! I hope it will be expanded to cover all mobile users in Zambia and to other developing countries as well.

Mary

amymorros
Aug 25, 2014
Aug 25, 2014

It is great to know that large corporations like Facebook are offering people something for free. Of course, they want more people on Facebook but I am sure it will benefit the users in so many ways.

Thank you for doing such important work and I hope that more and more people will be online soon thanks to free or reduced connection costs.