Facebook is celebrating one year of the introduction of the Internet.org app in Zambia – the first country where this service was introduced.
This endeavor has been quite successful for them as they have worked with over a dozen mobile operators across 17 countries in the last 12 months. Their basic aim is the same: to provide Internet to people without any data charges and help them discover the value of internet. Now, according to Facebook, over a billion people have access to Internet.org.
According to latest stats, the service brings new users onto mobile networks 50% faster after the free services were launched. More than half of the people who use the Internet.org services pay for the data within the first 30 days which shows that people are beginning to value it.
Here’s an excerpt from Facebook’s blogpost:
“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.”
Before today, Facebook and Internet.org only worked with select mobile networks to make its services available. Now any carrier can sign up to partner with the organization to provide basic internet services for free. A new portal allows them to sign up and includes technical tools along with best practices to get new partners started.
Facebook came under fire earlier this year for going against net neutrality. The critics were of the opinion that the restrictive platform of Internet.Org will allow certain players to do well. The non inclusiveness will effect their competitors negatively by effecting a common ground for competition. In response, it made a developer platform called ‘Internet.org Platform’ which makes it easy for any developer to create services that integrate with Internet.org.
Facebook is now geared to expand to other countries. They are partnering with more and more mobile operators and developers to provide Internet services to the unconnected people.