Statistics show that only one out of three people in the world has access to internet services. This basically means two-thirds of the world's population are not in the loop. The project's website cites several reasons why this is the case - expensive devices, expensive connection plans, limited mobile networks, unavailability of content in local languages, doubts about the value of the internet, limited power sources, and inability of networks to support immense data traffic.
In his announcement (which was accompanied by a photo of a tricycle), Zuckerberg wrote, "We're one step closer to connecting the world as we launched Internet.org in the Philippines today. Now everyone in the country can have free access to internet services for health, education, jobs and communication on the Smart network."
To be able to avail of the free online access being offered by the project, you need to be a subscriber of either Smart, Talk N' Text, or Sun Cellular. These telcos are the official local partners of the Internet.org project.
There are two ways on how you can avail of the free services. One: using your mobile phone browser, text INTERNET to 9999. Two: download the Internet.org application from the Google Play app store.
Of course, as the case always with free web services, there are limitations to the Internet.org project. First of all, don't expect fast connectivity. But it's free so you have nothing to lose.
And here's the greatest drawback of the project - the websites you can use are very limited. Here in the Philippines, some of the more well-known sites you can gain access to are Facebook (of course), Jobstreet, Wikipedia, Bing, Inquirer and Rappler. The other available sites are ones that most Filipinos don't use. Yes, the initiative doesn't carry Google (the most valuable website in the universe). Bummer. But this is understandable given the fact that Facebook (the leader of the initiative) always had Bing as its search engine partner.
But free is free. It's better than nothing. So thanks a million, Mr. Zuckerberg. To learn more about the Internet.org initiative, visit their website here. Other countries who are recipients of the free services are Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Colombia, Ghana, and India.
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