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The Internet.org project by Facebook is now available in Malawi through the TNM and Airtel Malawi. The project is an initiative by Facebook to bring together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities with the goal of connecting the two thirds of the world that don’t have internet access.
Only one out of every three people can access the web, Internet.org says, and this is its plan change this.
“Giving people free access is the right thing to do. We will keep connecting more people and more countries, and we won’t stop until every person in the world can connect to the Internet,” Internet.org says.
Malawi is not the first country in Africa to get Internet.org. Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, are some of the countries that the service is available in. With the launch in Malawi, Internet.org claims that now it is available to more than one billion people around the world.
Last year, we reported that Facebook was in the process of teaming up with Avanti, a UK-based satellite operator, regarding a project that will see it provide free internet access across Africa. The project was part of the Internet.org initiative. This was a rumour at the time and the news of the deal died down. However, Facebook appears to have carried on with its plans to provide Africa with free internet.
There is no news of what services TNM and Airtel Malawi users will have free access to. However, they should not be different from what other countries can access through their networks. When Internet.org launched in Ghana earlier this year, it offered free access to AccuWeather, BBC News, Ebola Information, Facebook, FunDza, GhanaWeb, Girl Effect, Jobberman, Messenger, News24, SuperSport, Wattpad, Wikipedia and others. We expect Malawi users to get similar access and also access to some services unique to their network providers and their users.
Giving free internet to a large community is not easy, and Internet.org appears to be succeeding. In less than a year, it claims that it connected brought more than nine million people online and introduced them to the incredible value of the internet.
“People now have access to basic internet services including tools and resources for communication, health, education and local news.”
The biggest hindrance to people accessing data is that is that they cannot afford it. Internet.org makes this possible for a large community rather than a few individuals. This not only opens minority communities to a greater world but it improves many aspects of their lives. Information about health, education, politics, jobs, becomes easily available.
“No one should have to choose between food or medicine and access to the internet,” Facebook says, “Internet.org supporters will join forces to develop technology that decreases the cost of delivering data to people worldwide, and helps expand internet access in under-served communities.”