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internet.org
A new Facebook application is attempting to bring Internet services to the world’s developing countries. While many impoverished areas have been limited by an inability to access certain aspects of modern technology, this new development aims to provide important information, such as weather, search engine capabilities and health and education information to in-need communities.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the beginning of internet.org in Zambia on July 31. The application will provide free data access and basic Internet service.

“Over the past year, we’ve been working with mobile operators around the world to deliver on this goal,” Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page. “We’re starting to see this vision become a reality, and we’ve already helped three million people access the Internet who had no access before.”

Currently, only 15 percent of the Zambian population has access to the Internet. The application, which provides access to sites such as Google Search, Facebook, Wikipedia, Messenger, EZeLibrary and Facts For Life, aims to provide helpful information in a usable format, free of charge.

According to internet.org representative Guy Rosen, approximately 85 percent of people who do not have internet access are in a location that has mobile phone coverage. Despite having phone services, these areas often do not have Internet coverage largely because of expenses and a lack of awareness about the advantages the Internet might provide them.

Many of the web services that internet.org has give people the ability to research job opportunities, stay connected with others and learn more about reproductive health and other aspects of health.

The program is beginning with Airtel, a global phone company, in Zambia. From there, Facebook hopes to spread internet.org to other parts of the world and provide free services to more developing areas.

“This is a big step forward in achieving the mission of Facebook and Internet.org,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re looking forward to bringing free basic services to more countries soon.”

– Julia Thomas 

Sources: BBC News, Airtel, GMA News Online
Photo: Viral Global News