It has been one year since Facebook introduced Internet.org. This time, Facebook has made it easier for all mobile operators to sign up in order to offer free internet access to basic services.
Facebook’s Internet.org offers free mobile access to a select number of services. The initiative was first launched in Africa but now it has expanded in 17 countries. This covers three continents. High-population countries like India, Pakistan and Indonesia already receive the service.
Facebook’s blog mentioned that the company has learned a lot from working with partners and will now be able to open up to all mobile operators. The blog mentioned, “As we approach year two, we’ve taken everything we’ve learned from working closely with our partners and are now ready to scale Internet.org free basic services. We’ve made it easier for any mobile operator to turn on Internet.org in new countries through a partner portal that includes technical tools and best practices, improving the process to offer free basic services to the unconnected.”
The company also wrote, “These points show that Internet.org is not only a successful tool in helping bring people online, but it is successful in showing people the value of the internet and helping to accelerate its adoption.”
However, there are people who believe that Internet.org from Facebook will not encourage free internet. Rather, it will work as a gatekeeper to the whole service.
Net neutrality is a major issue that has brought a lot of arguments. This debate will continue but opening up to third-party developers will mean anyone can add anything to the service; though cost has to be considered.
Facebook has reported good earnings this quarter. Piper Jaffray Internet analyst Gene Munster said Monday to CNBC, “The reason that these stocks have done well is because they’ve got some open-ended opportunities and Facebook is probably one of the most unique stories in that sense.”