Facebook is bringing Internet to the land of Zambia via a new app. The app is part of the Internet.org program that is designed to bring Internet service to places around the world that are lacking. The app will debut first in Zambia, then other parts of the world if proved successful.
For now, the app is exclusive to Zambian wireless carrier, Airtel, so folks who are interested in using it must first be a subscriber of this network. Whether or not it will make it to other carriers in the country is still left to be seen.
From what we've come to understand, the new app is designed to allow users to gain access to a number of web services for free. Once users visit these web services, it will bypass their data plan, giving them more freedom to be on the web without worrying about high charges.
The web services in question include Facebook, Google search, Messenger, Wikipedia, an app promoting women rights, and local weather alerts.
Here are the full list of apps Zambian users will have access to, stated in Facebook's blog.
- Facts for Life
- Google Search
- Go Zambia Jobs
- MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action)
- WRAPP (Women's Rights App)
- Zambia uReport
This move is a big deal for Zambia, and also a big deal for Facebook as the company is looking to find the next billion and make them a part of the social network. As of late, Facebook saw itself in the news for negative reasons. The company found itself in the hot seat after it was revealed that it was doing experiments on its users. In addition, new data has confirmed that Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter are more user-friendly than Facebook.
Using Internet.org to spread Internet to less fortunate countries is a good idea; however, this is not the only plan Facebook has in mind. The company is working on a program where drones are used to provide data connection in several parts of the world.
Google is also doing something similar with its Loon initiative. Instead of using drones like Facebook, Google aims to use hot air balloons.
Only time will tell if this plan will work out in ways Facebook is hoping, because it will have to contend with Google in this space.