Facebook’s initiative to provide basic mobile internet service to every individual, the Internet.org project, has today been launched in India in a partnership with RCom. Facebook and RCom will provide free access to 38 web-services in India.
The service has been launched in seven circles – Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It will work for both – existing and new RCom subscribers and will work on feature phones as well as Android smartphones.
The service, which is run by non-profit organisation Internet.org with the help from numerous telecom industry partners is currently available in a few African countries and Colombia. Now, it is making its way to India. This marks the biggest step for the project to date as India is a country with more than a billion people, poised to become world’s biggest smartphone market.
Most of the services on Internet.org are available in English and six local languages — Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi and can be accessed via the dedicated Android app, the start screen on Opera’s Mini browser or from UCWeb’s popular UC Browser app. Initially, there are 38 websites and services bundled into the free service in India.
The free access to websites and services include Facebook, Facebook Messenger, HungamaPlay, BBC News, News Hunt, Wikipedia, Times Jobs, Times of India, wikiHow, Aaj Tak, AccuWeather, Amarujala.com, AP Speaks, Babajob, BabyCenter & MAMA, Bing Search, Cleartrip, Daily Bhaskar, Dictionary.com, ESPN Cricinfo, Facts for life, Girl Effect, IBNLive, iLearn, India Today, Internet Basics, Jagran, Jagran Josh, Maalai Malar, Maharastra Times, Malaria No More, manoramanews.com, NDTV, OLX, Reliance Astrology, Reuters Market Lite, Socialblood and Translator.
Gurdeep Singh, CEO, consumer business, RCom, said,
We have gone live with seven circles and are committed to going pan-India in 90 days.
Facebook in a statement said that this is the first step to provide internet access to more than a billion people in India who are not yet connected.