Facebook has launched an app providing the citizens of Zambia with free Internet access. This move is the next step toward Facebook's goal of bringing wireless Internet access to everyone around the world.
The "Internet.org" initiative, led by Facebook in partnership with several other technology companies, is aiming to bring Internet access to five billion more people. A commendable goal — and also a lot more new users for the company. Thus far, their efforts have given Internet access to three million people.
Zambia was targeted in part because only fifteen percent of citizens have Internet access. The app will allow mobile users to have free basic Internet services through their cellphones. It allows access to Facebook (obviously,) health information, employment information, and information about their local area. It also includes AccuWeather, Airtel, Google, Wikipedia, and Messenger. Of particular interest are two women's rights applications: MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) and WRAPP (Women's Rights App.)
Airtel users in Zambia will receive access to the app first. After that initial rollout, Facebook will make the app available to other mobile users on other service providers and in additional nations.
We believe that every person should have access to free basic internet services - tools for health, education, jobs and basic communication.
Over the past year we've been working with mobile operators around the world to deliver on this goal. We're starting to see this vision become a reality, and we've already helped 3 million people access the internet who had no access before."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.