It’s been one long controversial year for the new service developed by Mark Zuckerberg. Now, after the anniversary, Facebook is bringing the Internet.org to more of the world by essentially allowing every single mobile internet operator to sign up for the service.
The Internet.org program started back in 2013 with the ultimate goal of bringing accessible, free, or freer internet to those less fortunate countries of the world. Although it was developed by Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not led solely by him. The initiative is a 7 company partnership that looks at emerging markets for the Internet, and allows them to acquire internet service from Internet.org through a local, third party provider.
The program is, essentially, a common vision of Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Opera Software, MediaTek, Qualcomm, and not the least, Facebook. And this vision entails, as said in an opening letter by Zuckerberg, bringing internet, one of the miracles of the contemporary world, to every single corner of the Earth, since connectivity, he argues, is a human thing.
Internet.org is now available in 17 countries. After its start in Africa, it extended to other countries with bigger populations, mainly India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Although the service exercise’s low prices, and a promise that it provides connectivity to individual users 50% faster than any other provider. One of the key concepts Internet.org has brought to users is free access to globally used sites such as Facebook.
This has spurred criticism, and a few protests in India, which said that Facebook’s policy of gatekeeping or handpicking which sites are free and which are not is a direct violation of the principle of Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is a concept which entails that all data on the internet should be treated equally by all providers, search engines, and internet services in general. This debate has resulted in an exchange of articles between Zuckerberg and many Indian critics on the Hindustan Times.
Probably in response to this, Zuckerberg allowed, just this May, all websites to apply to become free for everyone using Internet.org.
The newest feature of Internet.org introduces is a portal where companies, third party providers, can go to in order to bring the internet to their regions of the globe. The statement by Facebook said that in the start of the second year since the service was first announced, the goal continues to be to bring Internet.org to as many places of the world as possible. Facebook wishes to encourage providers to leave prejudice aside and apply for the service.
Image source: cbc.ca