As a part of its plan to offer free internet on mobile phones, Facebook will open a portal allowing any mobile operator to offer the service under internet.org platform. Facebook currently partners with specific operators to launch service. Facebook revealed the plan in a blog post.
According to Chris Daniels, Vice President for product internet.org has brought 9 million people online out of its targeted 4.5 billion unconnected people in developing countries. This growth is said to be 50% faster and that more than half the people using Internet.org are paying for data to access the wider Internet within 30 days.
“This is really a customer acquisition tool for mobile operators where the benefit to them of offering a very light amount of free data is to bring on more paying subscribers to their networks,” said Daniel. “Facebook was not paying for any of the data being used to access the service,” he added.
Regarding the backlash Facebook.org experienced in India, Daniel said that the reaction of India was unique. “I would say India is unique in that respect and very much an outlier. In other markets, Internet.org has been embraced as a pro-connectivity initiative that has garnered a lot of support,” Daniels said reports New Indian Express.
In India, many companies stepped out of internet.org on the grounds that it goes against net neutrality. The DoT panel too has embraced this argument and said Facebook acted as a ‘gatekeeper’ by limiting access to websites. Hence, argued that it should be ‘discouraged’.