Internet.org Free Internet service with Reliance
According to the report ‘Mobile Internet in India 2014’ released by Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB International, there were 173 million users in India have access to mobile internet till December, 2014. This figure is expected to grow to 53 million i.e. near about 213 million user will have Mobile Internet Access till reach June this year. On the other hand, Mobile Internet users in Rural India are set to a growth of 33% i.e. near about 49 millions till March 2015.
The above figures look promising and show a very bright face of developing India but on the other side still more than a billion people in India don’t have access to the internet which means they are not getting opportunities/chances to connect, sync with Country’s development. With a view to provide internet access to everyone Social Network Giant Facebook joined hands with Reliance to launch Internet.org (freenet) in India.
What is Internet.org?
Internet.org is a partnership between Facebook and mobile phone companies from various countries (Reliance in India) that aims to bring affordable Internet access to everybody by increasing affordability, efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access. Last year Internet.org project was launched in the countries with more than 150 million people total across Africa and Latin America and on 10th February 2015 Facebook with Reliance has launched Internet.org in India.
What users will get with Freenet?
Initially the service is available for Reliance GSM (Postpaid/Prepaid) & CDMA (Prepaid) Mobile Customers in Mumbai, Maharashtra & Goa, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, and Kerala regions but it will be extended to other regions also. Internet.org provides free access to more than 35 services and websites; these services include Facebook, Free News on sites like Times of India, NDTV and Aaj Tak, etc. Cricket updates on Cricinfo, Job search, Weather updates, Train and flight schedules, dictionary service, Language Translator, Health related Information, Daily horoscope & astrology, OLX, Wikipedia & much more. On an average Rs. 101 to 500 is spent by Indians for mobile internet just to access Facebook, news, Wikipedia etc. but with Reliance Freenet now all these services will be free of charge for the Reliance users.
Benefits of Freenet (internet.org)
The stats provided at the start of the article clearly show that how fast we (India as a country) are growing; even Mark Zuckerberg in the interview with TheHindu said, “This is a country which is forward on science and engineering. I think benefits of bringing connectivity to India are going to be profound. When you bring Internet to India, you are empowering people to build tools that can really improve the world”.
We are moving towards a digital world and many areas in India are still far behind in terms of information, growth and technology but such kind of services will help people to be in sync with the growth of the country, know about the latest updates, latest policies made by the government specifically for them. In India government launches many programmes for the development of rural areas but due to lack proper information these program never receive the responses which are expected. Having internet access for the people from rural area can connected to main stream and keep them updated with all the new updates and development and also they can put express their views and comment. Mark Zuckerberg has shared his experience of Chandauli village “a small rural village in northern India that recently got connected to the internet. Students at this computer center were learning to use the internet for the first time. People from across the surrounding area were visiting the center, and asking the kids to look up information for them. Knowledge and tools were starting to make life better for everyone.”
I know this is something which is going to take a lot of time and we can say this is just s first step towards digitalisation.