Facebook’s Internet.org Now Open To Any Wireless Carrier In The World
Facebook has just announced via a blog post that it is now opening up Internet.org to any wireless carrier in the planet that is willing to give basic Internet services to people living in countries with limited web and mobile access. Any wireless carrier that joins though will have to offer the basic Internet services for free to any Internet.org user.
Internet.org was the idea of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive officer of the world’s most popular social media platform. The aim of the platform was to bring Internet access to people around the world that enjoy little to no connectivity to the world wide web. And in celebration of its first anniversary (Internet.org was launched one year ago in Zambia), Zuckerberg and company is now making it easier for any wireless carrier in the world to participate in the platform.
Apart from Facebook, other brands such as Samsung, Nokia, and a number of other high profile tech companies are backing Internet.org. And in the twelve months since it was launched, the platform has already managed to go online in 17 countries, allowing more than a billion people to enjoy free Internet access.
Of course, one of the most important factors that will determine how successful Internet.org will turn out to be is the participation of wireless carriers. The arrangement with wireless carriers involves having Internet.org users connect with the networks of these mobile operators using basic devices that the platform has supplied. Once users are online via Internet.org, they will be able to make use of approved apps such as Facebook Messenger, Wikipedia, UNICEF’s Facts of Life health website, and various online news sources. Users can also surf the web if they want to. Facebook has set specific guidelines that require apps to utilize only as minimal bandwidth as possible so that network connections provided by carriers will not get easily congested.
In further encouraging more partnerships with wireless carriers, Facebook also recently launched a new portal for mobile operators who might be interested in participating in Internet.org. The portal includes best practices and even technical tools that should help any potential wireless carrier partner understand the requirements and process of joining in. There may be some wireless carriers that will understandably be reluctant to enter into the program, considering that they will basically be earning nothing. But Facebook was quick to note that within the first month, more than 50 percent of the users that come online via Internet.org go on to avail of paid data plans that offer faster and better Internet service. Facebook is basically saying to wireless carriers that Internet.org could help them gain new customers in the process.