Airtel and Facebook expand free internet service across Africa
Dated: November 18, 2015
Bharti Airtel and social media giant Facebook has announced the launch of free internet access service platform across 17 African countries in phases by March 2016. Airtel Africa had already been working with Facebook since 2014 in enhancing accessibility to the internet in an affordable manner through the launch of Free Basics in Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, Seychelles and Rwanda.
"We are excited to continue our partnership with Airtel in bringing more people online. More than one billion people have access to Internet.org's free basic services across Asia, Africa and Latin America today. Our intention is to help the people in Africa access relevant basic services," Internet.org Vice President Chris Daniels said.
The Free Basics service, which has been in midst of neutrality debate, offers free access to a set of basic websites and services with objective to introduce people to the internet. These websites provide free health, education and finance-related information.
"We are cognizant of the power of internet in changing lives of communities and this partnership with Facebook will aid in bringing more people online and reduce the digital divide," Airtel Africa MD and CEO Christian de Faria said.
Airtel customers currently using the Internet.Org application and mobile website will be able to continue using the Android app, though it will now be called Free Basics by Facebook in Google Play and the mobile web version will redirect users from the previous Internet.Org web address to Free Basics website.