Facebook Brings Free Basic Internet to Zambia with Internet.org App

internet-org-app11Facebook has launched a mobile app that gives users in Zambia free access to a selected number of online services on mobiles, in an attempt to bring Internet usage to a wider audience in emerging markets.

The Internet.org app, launched in partnership with Airtel in Zambia, includes access to weather reports, Wikipedia, job sites, information on health, infant nutrition and womens rights, as well as Facebook and its Messenger app.

There are plans to roll the app out to further countries across the world, and improve the experience for users, according to a post by Guy Rosen, product management director at Facebook.

The post noted that “over 85 per cent of the worlds population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30 per cent of the total population accesses the internet. Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption for many.”

Facebook has already introduced Facebook Zero, a free or discounted version of its own app offered by multiple networks across the world, but the new app for Zambia is the first time it has added web services beyond its own social network to the free services it offers.