Last year, Facebook launched Internet.org as an initiative to get more people online. The social media giant recently commemorated the program’s first anniversary in a blog post with a mention of how the service has successfully acquired new users at a fast pace and turned half of its users into paying subscribers.
Facebook and Internet.org expand mobile internet for all
Internet.org was first rolled out in Zambia but is now available in 17 countries. Internet.org brings free basic mobile internet to those in developing nations–people who might otherwise not have access to the internet. The service’s VP, Chris Daniels, explained, “We have noticed that users who have joined Internet.org want to move on and experience more Internet. This is why at least half of them started moving to a paid plan within 30 days of going online.”
The service is accessible in India through six service options via Reliance. Daniels also mentioned that they hope to bring more service providers on board. The company used the first year to learn more about how to roll out internet service to other countries. The social media website recently introduced a partner portal with technical tools to help improve the internet options for people who lack web access.
Net neutrality concerns
A recent report from India’s DoT also shined light on principles to preserve net neutrality. The report includes statistics proving that Internet.org is a gateway to the internet and not the gatekeeper.
Unfortunately, not everyone supports Internet.org’s initiative. There was backlash when internet and technology companies pulled out of the service right after activists purported that Internet.org violates net neutrality. The telecoms ministry committee examined the net neutrality issue earlier this month, claiming that content provider and mobile operator collaborations creating gate-keeping roles should be discouraged.
Daniels contends that the service will get more people online and give them a better life.