Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access. Only 1 out of every 3 people can go online. Why aren’t more people connected? Devices are too expensive. Service plans are too expensive. Mobile networks are few and far between. Content isn’t available in the local language. People aren’t sure what value the internet will bring. Power sources are limited or costly. Networks can’t support large amounts of data. Together we can remove these barriers and give the unconnected majority of the world the power to connect. We’re in this together. Making the internet available to every person on earth is a goal too large and too important for any one company, group or government to solve alone. Everyone participating in Internet.org has come together to meet this challenge because they believe in the power of a connected world.
Social media giant Facebook has garnered 8 lakh users in India for its Internet.org initiative that has been in the thick of the net neutrality controversy. The platform, which allows users to access about 30 web sites without having to pay for data charges, is in operation in seven States on Reliance Communications’ network. Facebook’s numbers also show that 20 percent of Internet.org users were previously not active on mobile data and that their app has helped more new people come online.
Internet.org was launched in India with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in February. Internet.org service is available for Reliance customers in seven telecom circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The goal of Internet.org is to allow more people to experience the benefits of being online. Latest data from the programme points that people are accessing the services and that first time users are aware of how internet services are valuable to them.
Facebook recently announced the Internet.org platform as an open programme for developers to easily create services that integrate with it. About 20 per cent of Internet.org users were previously not active on mobile data and thus, Internet.org is bringing new people online.
For new internet users acquired by Internet.org, only 7 per cent of data usage was Internet.org (including Free FB). These new users are now consuming more than 100MB per month outside of Internet.org (i.e. People are paying for data from Reliance).
Internet.org states that it aims to bring 5 billion people online in partnership with tech giants like Samsung and Qualcomm. This will be soon available to the whole country with more telecom operators and the services will be ranging from maternal health, news, local jobs, travel, communication, sports and local government information.
Facebook has faced criticism for launching the platform as it is seen as violating the principle of net neutrality, which is against any priority being accorded to an entity in the Internet traffic flow because of payments to service providers such as telecom companies.
Initiative participants share tools, resources and best practices to explore solutions in three major opportunity areas: affordability, efficiency and business models.
No one should have to choose between food or medicine and access to the internet.Internet.org supporters will join forces to develop technology that decreases the cost of delivering data to people worldwide, and helps expand internet access in under-served communities.
Transmitting data—even a text message or a simple web page—requires bandwidth, something that’s scarce in many parts of the world.Partners will invest in tools and software to improve data compression capabilities and make data networks and services run more efficiently.
Connecting billions of people will be a massive global effort that requires ongoing innovation.Developers, mobile operators and device manufacturers will work together to introduce business models that give people more ways to go online.