Facebook is moving along with its goal to bring Web access to everyone in the world with the launch of a new app that provides people in Zambia with free basic Internet services.
The new Internet.org app lets mobile users in the African country access a set of health, employment, and local information services without data charges. It includes AccuWeather, Google Search, Wikipedia, women’s rights app WRAPP, and, of course, Facebook, among others.
The app will first be available to Airtel subscribers in Zambia, and Facebook plans to roll it out to other parts of the world in the future.
“We believe that every person should have access to free basic Internet services — tools for health, education, jobs and basic communication,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Thursday post on his Facebook page announcing the new app.
The move comes a year after Facebook launched its Internet.org effort to increase access to the Web, and bring the Internet “to the next 5 billion people.”
Today there are a billion smartphones used worldwide. By 2017 there will be close to 2 billion smartphones and half a billion tablets in use.
IEEE Spectrum has Five Ways to Bring Broadband to the Backwoods, including solar-powered drones, MEO and LEO satellites, balloons, blimps, and White Spaces.
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