RCOM and Facebook give Power to Billion
In a recent town event, Reliance Communications, India’s fully-integrated telecom service provider, today announced a ground-breaking partnership with Facebook to offer free data access to useful websites to Reliance customers through Internet.org. Internet.org provides access to popular websites and services with zero data charges in order to make it easier for people to access the Internet, across both the 2G & 3G platforms.
This platform enables the common man in India can go and access some useful websites without paying for data. They want to bring power of the Internet to a billion Indians and want customers to enjoy access to popular websites with zero data charges, including Facebook
To start with, these services will be available for Reliance customers in the telecom Circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Kerala with immediate effect. The goal is to extend the services to the rest of the country in the next 90 days, and gradually add more services and websites.
The launch of these services aims to bring the power of the Internet to a billion Indians. By bridging the Digital Divide, it strengthens society by creating a larger, more vibrant community of better- informed and better-connected citizens. Customers can now explore what the Internet is all about, and how it can help them in daily life, without having to worry about data charges. These set of services also come with free Facebook access.
The need was that almost one fourth of the world’s population is offline, and that population is from India. Over 70% of the mobile users in India do not have internet access and this partnership wishes to empower each and every mobile user to be able to use basic internet services. Some of these services include, news updates, jobs, and so on. To begin with, the partnership has about thirty three partners on board and these will over a period of time increase.
The partnership intends to bridge the gap between the non-internet users with the internet users and empower every individual with the power of internet. Internt.org intends to bring in self confidence within people by making them habitual to the benefits from the internet. While in India, there is definitely a need for that, Internet.org is present in six more countries and plans to go global soon.
There might be questions like is this an app or is browser based? Is it available on all types of devices? Well the answer is it is both. For basic feature phones, which have internet facilities, this is a browser based URL (www.internet.org), while for the android users it is an application. The technology is only android based as of now. While these services remain free for all Reliance users, both existing and the new users this break-free platform is going to witness a new India. It is available on all possible devices which can have an internet connection.
The list of free services includes:
Careers & Jobs: TimesJobs, Babajob
Education & Knowledge: Wikipedia, wikiHow, Dictionary.com, Translator, Reuters Market Lite, Jagran Josh
Health & Social Welfare: Facts for Life (UNICEF), BabyCenter & MAMA, Girl Effect (Nike
Foundation), iLearn (UN Women), Malaria No More, Socialblood, AP Speaks
News: BBC News, Times of India, India Today, NDTV, BBC News, IBNLive, Aaj Tak, Amarujala.com, Daily Bhaskar, Maalai Malar, Maharashtra Times, Jagran, Newshunt, Manoramanews.com
Search: Bing (from Microsoft)
Social: Facebook, Facebook Messenger
Sports: ESPN Cricinfo
Utility: OLX, Astro, Cleartrip, AccuWeather
In way to improve existing services, the Andhra Pradesh government has come up with an app called AP speaks and this is available as one of the free services on this platform. Indeed from today we will see that the way India lives, works & plays will change.
While there might be a question about how the telecom giant is going to manage the traffic, the spokesperson told us that the existing infrastructure of their circles has been beefed up already. And if one thinks that how can one use the internet without data, then for all those folks, it’s a break-through technology that has been invented and can work on zero bandwidth. Of course for this service the speeds will depend on the phone.
Applauding the launch of the service in India, Gurdeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer Business, Reliance Communications, said, “We are delighted to announce the launch of Internet.org services in India. Through this partnership with Facebook, we aim to increase Internet inclusion and encourage more Indians to go online. This partnership will not only accelerate Internet penetration in India, it will also open new socio-economic opportunities to users in fields like education, information and commerce.”
Chris Daniels, Vice-President of Internet.org at Facebook, said: “Today, we’re excited to make the Internet available to millions of people in India through the launch of Internet.org and free basic services with Reliance. This is a big step forward in our efforts to connect everyone in India to the Internet, and to help people discover new tools and information that can create more jobs and opportunities.”
The launch of Internet.org helps overcome the data access barrier in customers’ minds, by offering them a set of websites which Reliance customers can access without any data charges.
Reliance customers can access these websites with zero data charges at www.internet.org, or in the Internet.org Android app. Most of the services will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi, to begin with.
On a concluding note, Singh tells us that, “From today, a billion new ideas can come to life, a billion people will be empowered with the access of Internet and this partnership intends to spread a lot of knowledge, information, content, fun, entertainment and most importantly utility to the end user.”