Today we will discuss about the renowned free internet service provided by Facebook Inc. namely Internet.org.
What is Internet.org?
Internet.org is a partnership between Social Networking Services company Facebook and 6 other companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the growth of Internet access.
Vision and Goals
Internet.org was founded by Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2013. It is mainly designed, keeping in mind the people living in developing and under developed countries where they cannot afford internet. A few countries on the list are Zambia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Philippines. Many others will soon be added to this list. See Launch dates below.
Founders & Partners
Ericsson is a world-leading provider of communications technology and services.
Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
MediaTek Inc. is a leading fabulous semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions.
Opera products enable more than 350 million internet consumers to discover and connect with the content and services that matter most to them.
Samsung is a global leader in technology, opening new possibilities for people everywhere through relentless innovation and discovery.
Qualcomm is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies.
Internet.org was launched on 20 August 2013, at the time of launch, Mark Zuckerberg released a 10-page whitepaper he had written elaborating on the vision. In the paper, he wrote that Internet.org was a further step in the direction of Facebook’s past initiatives, such as Facebook Zero, to improve Internet access for people around the world. He also said that “connectivity is a human right.”
It was launched on different dates in different countries, viz. are –
- July 2014: Zambia
- October 2014: Tanzania
- November 2014: Kenya
- January 2015: Colombia
- January 2015: Ghana with Airtel
- 10 February 2015: India with Reliance Communications (Not all cities are currently supported by internet.org)
- 18 March 2015: Philippines with Smart Communications
- 31 March 2015: Guatemala with Tigo
- 20 April 2015: Indonesia with Indosat
- 10 May 2015: Bangladesh with Robi
- 13 May 2015: Malawi with TNM and Airtel
- 28 May 2015: Pakistan with Telenor Pakistan
- 5 June 2015: Senegal with Tigo
- 19 June 2015: Bolivia with VIVA
- 1 July 2015 : South Africa with Cell C
Only the TeleCommunication Companies which are stated with Countries would be able to access internet.org. Thus, the number of sites freely available to the user also depends on the country from where it is being used.
It has been criticized for violating net neutrality and favoring Facebook’s own services over its rivals. An Indian journalist, in his reply to Mark’s article defending Internet.org in India, criticized Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to only Reliance ‘s subscribers in India. Until April 2015, Internet.org users could access (for free) only a few websites, and Facebook’s role as gatekeeper in determining what websites were in that list was criticised for violating net neutrality. In May 2015, Facebook announced that the Internet.org Platform would be opened to websites that met its criteria, which is a bit controversial.
List of services once can use via Internet.org
|Social Networking||Facebook, Facebook Messenger.|
|Health||Malaria No More, Facts for Life (UNICEF), Social Blood, BabyCenter & MAMA.|
|Information||Aaj Tak, AccuWeather, Reuters Market Lite, Amar Ujala, BBC News, IBN Live, Daily Bhaskar, Translator, Dictionary.com, Jagran, Maalai Malar, Maharasta Times, wikiHow, Wikipedia, Basics of Internet|
|Women Empowerment||Nike Foundation (Girl Effect), UN Women (iLearn).|
How to use Internet.org?
- First make sure you have the mobile network of respective Telecommunication company as mentioned above.
- Then make sure that you have a working data plan. The mobile data will not be used on sites available on internet.org but in case, you click a link outside that area, data charges may apply.
- Go to www.internet.org using mobile web browser (on any internet supported phone). Or get its app from Google Play Store (only for an Android smart phone). Downloading the app itself will require mobile data, but it won’t consume data while using the app.
- Customer will be presented with the language selection page where choice of language can be selected. By default, the regional language will be selected. Customer can opt for other languages by clicking ‘+’ button on the page.
- Click “Continue” to get to the main page of Internet.org, with “Free Services” & “Reliance” sections displayed in the choice of language.
Read Mark’s post regarding Internet.org on Facebook.com