Facebook has brought its internet.org app to India, giving free, basic internet access to people in six Indian states – Tamil Nadu, Mahararashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, and Telangana. The deal is a partnership with Reliance Communications.
By "basic", we're talking 38 services – which includes Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Wikipedia, wikiHow, ESPN Cricket Info, Bing search, and BBC News. There are also websites offered that are very specific to Indian interests, like Maharashtra Times and Babajob.
"Reliance customers in India can access these services in the Internet.org Android app, at www.internet.org, from the start screen of the Opera Mini mobile web browser, and using the Android app UC Browser for Internet.org. Most of the services will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi," says Facebook.
There are over a billion people in India who are not connected to the internet in any way.
"Over the last year we've rolled out Internet.org free basic services to countries with more than 150 million people total across Africa and Latin America. More than 6 million people are already connected to the internet who previously weren’t, and we’ve started hearing incredible stories about how the internet is changing lives and communities. But to continue connecting the world, we have to connect India. More than a billion people in India don’t have access to the internet. That means they can’t enjoy the same opportunities many of us take for granted, and the entire world is robbed of their ideas and creativity," says Mark Zuckerberg in a post. This is why the move into India is the most significant yet – the sheer volume of under-connected people.
"One day, we will connect everyone, and the power of the internet will serve every community across India and the world. That day is coming," he says.
Image via Dikkoos, Wikimedia Commons