Facebook opens portal to expand Internet.org reach

28 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook to increase free mobile Internet service.

Facebook Inc plans to scale up its service to offer free basic Internet on mobile phones, an executive said, after introducing the application in 17 developing countries over the past year.

Internet.org, which is marking its first anniversary on Monday, has been able to bring in new users at a faster pace as well as making at least half of them move to a paid model within a month, Facebook has claimed. In a blog post released to mark the first year of the initiative, Facebook said it will open a portal allowing any mobile operator to offer the service under its Internet.org platform. In a telephonic interaction with the IndianExpress.com, Chris Daniels, the Vice-President of Product for Internet.org at Facebook, said: “We have noticed that users who have joined Internet.org want to move on and experience more Internet. While Facebook claimed that Internet.org brings new users onto mobile networks on average over 50 per cent faster after launching free basic services, the other interesting data point is that users accessed health services more than a million times just in the past month.

Facebook developed the platform with six technology partners to bring an estimated 4.5 billion unconnected people online, mainly in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The Internet.org application, launched in India in February in partnership with Reliance Communications, faced backlash with a number of leading technology and Internet firms pulling out of the service after activists claimed it violated the principles of a neutral Internet. “I would say India is unique in that respect and very much an outlier.

A committee of the telecoms ministry set up to examine the issue of net neutrality earlier this month recommended that collaborations between mobile operators and content providers that enable “gatekeeping” roles should be discouraged.

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