Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch via his Facebook Page:
Earlier this year, I visited Panama and met with President Juan Carlos Varela to discuss how we could work together to improve internet connectivity in Panama, where less than half the population is online.
Today we launched Internet.org here. People on the Digicel Panamá network now have free data access to valuable tools for health, jobs, education and communications including e-government services from the Panamanian government.
Connectivity changes lives and communities, but change depends on strong partnerships. Thanks to President Varela for his support for Internet.org and for bringing the opportunities of the internet to the entire world. Here’s a photo of me at the Panama Canal, another amazing example of how innovation can connect the world.
So, how does it work?
I have Digicel so I have actually been able to test out the new service to see what it includes. Users will just need to have a basic smartphone and a Digicel SIM card – no data or voice plan is necessary. Users can then visit internet.org via their browser for all of the services that can be used for free.
Here is a screenshot of some of the services included in the free data browsing program:
Just so everyone knows – this is not an unlimited smartphone plan. The service is meant to provide basic online services like weather, search, Facebook, and news to people who can’t afford a monthly data plan. Whatsapp, phone apps, email, and anything else that uses data are not free. Only services accessed via Internet.org will work without actually signing up for a data plan.
What do you think of Internet.org launching in Panama? Leave a comment below.