Nearly a year ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new initiative called Internet.org, with the stated mission of making the internet available to all (making affordable internet access available to the two thirds of the world not yet connected, in its words). Zuckerberg and his new group lamented that devices and data plans are too expensive, mobile networks are shoddy, power sources are limited, and in some places simple knowledge of the internet is non-existent.
Today, Zuckerberg and company are taking one of their first big steps to help bring basic internet access to the underserved. They're launching an Internet.org Android app.
The app will debut in Zambia, a country where only 15 percent of the population has internet access. Of course, Zuckerberg hopes to expand into more countries as soon as possible.
"A year ago, I announced Internet.org, our effort to bring affordable internet access to everyone in the world.
We believe that every person should have access to free basic internet services - tools for health, education, jobs and basic communication," says Zuckerberg.
"Right now, only 15% of people in Zambia have access to the internet. Soon, everyone will be able to use the internet for free to find jobs, get help with reproductive health and other aspects of health, and use tools like Facebook to stay connected with the people they love. This is a big step forward in achieving the mission of Facebook and Internet.org. We're looking forward to bringing free basic services to more countries soon."
The Internet.org app will provide free, basic access to things like Facebook, Google search, Wikipedia, Facebook Messenger, and AccuWeather. All of these services will be accessible through the new app – but also via internet.org as well as the main Facebook for Android app.