Facebook's Internet.org App Goes Live in Zambia, Offers Free Data

The app limits access to a series of sites and portals

By on July 31st, 2014 10:00 GMT

Facebook’s not-for-profit is moving fast in bringing Internet access to areas around the world. To this extent, the Internet.org App was just launched.

“Over 85% of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30% of the total population accesses the internet. Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many and today we are introducing the Internet.org app to make the internet accessible to more people by providing a set of free basic services,” writes Guy Rosen, product management director with Internet.org.

The app provides people with access to a series of health, employment, and local information services without any data charges. Basically, they’re browsing the Internet for free via the app. There’s a catch, however, because users won’t really have access to all the Internet for free. Instead, they’ll be able to access a series of sites and tools.

The app will originally provide access to Airtel customers in Zambia, but more countries are sure to be added to the list in the coming months.

Through the Internet.org app, users will have basic access to AccuWeather, Airtel, eZeLibrary (legal portal), Facebook, Facts for Life, Google Search, Go Zambia Jobs, Kokoliko (job portal), MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action), Facebook Messenger, Wikipedia, WRAPP (Women’s Rights App), and Zambia uReport.

“With this app, people can browse a set of useful health, employment and local information services without data charges. By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise,” the company writes.

It is a notable feat for Internet.org to launch this app with so much support. The fact that there are no trial periods is that much more important and sets the Internet.org app from other services who promise free data deals.

Facebook launched Internet.org last year, hoping to help drive universal, global Internet access. While this will certainly help boost Facebook’s numbers, there is more to the project than a desire to grow for the world’s largest social network.

“There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it,” CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg explained at the time, mentioning that the Internet was not accessible for two thirds of the world.

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