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article imageFacebook aims to give free web access to 100 countries this year

By James Walker     Mar 5, 2015 in Technology
Social network giant Facebook has announced an aggressive expansion of its program that aims to connect more people to the web. It means that 100 developing countries could get free net access this year.
Currently available in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Colombia and India, Chris Daniels, VP of, spoke on Facebook's aim of expanding to another 100 countries this year.
The initiative, similar to Google operations like Project Loon and Project Titan, aims to connect the world's population to the internet to bring increased advantages and opportunities.
Launched in 2013, Facebook partners with internet, mobile and data providers in the countries in which operates, offering free web access to people who could not normally obtain any connection to what many in western nations regard as a fundamental resource. Daniels said that the eventual aim is "to bring connectivity to the entire world."
Residents of remote, developing countries have access to an app released by the company that provides access to the network. It is designed to introduce people to "core" areas of the internet including essential websites like Google and Wikipedia.
Facebook consults with the local governments to select what sites to make available for free in the app but they tend to always include job finding and health diagnosis services. Mashable reports that the Facebook site shown when the app launches is a stripped down version that ensures only a little data is required; users are prompted to upgrade to a paid plan to view photos and videos.
Future targets for the ambitious program are chosen based on the operators present and the needs of the local population. Remote areas with little connectivity are the primary candidates. Over 90% of people who have no internet connection live in developing countries.
The app seems to be succeeding in its mission with countries where the service is already available seeing a 40 percent increase in the number of people signing up to local operators to access it. Smartphone sales have grown 10 percent in Tanzania which has been directly attributed to Facebook's project.
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