The Facebook-backed nonprofit Internet.org is bringing free data to parts of Zambia in Southern Africa as a part of a major initiative to connect the Internet with the two-thirds of the world’s population who aren’t online.
Internet.org is rolling out an app that provides free basic web services to Airtel subscribers in Zambia. The organization said it plans to introduce the app to other parts of the world soon.
“By providing free basic services via the app, we hope to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise,” Guy Rosen, product management director at Facebook, wrote in an official blog post.
While only 30% of the world’s population accesses the Internet, 85% live in regions with cellular coverage. This huge disparity is attributed to affordability and awareness, according to Internet.org. Other projects in the works include developing low-cost quality smartphones to underserved areas.
All of this, Mashable point out, would also encourage newly-connected web users to sign up for Facebook and ultimately increase the site’s user base.