Celebrating the first anniversary of Internet.org, Facebook is now expanding the “selective” internet service to all countries. The social networking giant wants to extend its service via service providers across the globe. It will now be easier for mobile operators to register and connect with Facebook, and join Internet.org. Till now, Facebook has partnered with over a dozen mobile operators and extended Internet.org services across 17 countries.
Facebook stated on it blog post, “Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50% faster after launching free basic services, and more than half of the people who come online through Internet.org are paying for data and accessing the internet within the first 30 days. These points show that Internet.org is not only a successful tool in helping bring people online, but it is successful in showing people the value of the internet and helping to accelerate its adoption.”
Internet.org is a selective, free internet service, which is the brainchild of Facebook and six partner comapnies — Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm. It is aimed to provide free internet services to less-developed nations. However, it has one major flaw, because of which it has been widely criticized on the net neutrality issue. Internet.org provides free access to selected websites that are curated by Facebook and the concerned partnering service provider. Google also has a similar initiative, named Project Loon, which is a major competitor to Internet.org. It will be coming to India in 2016, and the internet service via Loon is not restricted to selective sites.
Internet.org, launched earlier this year in India in partnership with Reliance, faced heavy backlash from various organizations and communities. As a result of this, many leading organizations pulled out of the service on the grounds of “net neutrality”. Adding to this, in a report by HT, Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org, said, "I would say India is unique in that respect and very much an outlier. In other markets, Internet.org has been embraced as a pro-connectivity initiative that has garnered a lot of support,"
The special investigating committee under DoT, which was set up earlier this month to examine the stance of net neutrality in India, came up with a recommendation, “Content and application providers cannot be permitted to act as gatekeepers and use network operations to extract value in violation of core principles of Net Neutrality, even if it is for an ostensible public purpose.”
Read the full blog post on Internet.org from Facebook below:
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Internet.org app in its first country, Zambia.
Over the past 12 months we’ve worked closely with more than a dozen mobile operators across 17 countries to give people access to relevant basic internet services without data charges, and today Internet.org is available to more than a billion people.
By providing people with access to free basic services through Internet.org, our goal was to bring more people online and help them discover the value of the internet — and it’s working.
Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50% faster after launching free basic services, and more than half of the people who come online through Internet.org are paying for data and accessing the internet within the first 30 days. These points show that Internet.org is not only a successful tool in helping bring people online, but it is successful in showing people the value of the internet and helping to accelerate its adoption.
As we approach year two, we’ve taken everything we’ve learned from working closely with our partners and are now ready to scale Internet.org free basic services. We’ve made it easier for any mobile operator to turn on Internet.org in new countries through a partner portal that includes technical tools and best practices, improving the process to offer free basic services to the unconnected. New operator partners can get started at www.internet.org/operators.
With our recently announced Internet.org Platform, we’ve also made it easy for any developer to create services that integrate with Internet.org. Our goal is to work with as many mobile operators and developers as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities around the world.
In the past month people using Internet.org accessed health services more than a million times, which speaks to the ultimate goal of Internet.org — helping to make an impact in people’s lives.
We look forward to working in partnership with more mobile operators and developers to bring internet access and relevant basic internet services to the unconnected.