Ahead of this week’s AfricaCom conference, Facebook shared the progress of Free Basics at an exclusive event held at the CAAM Gallery in Greenpoint, Cape Town.
The Free Basics Platform is a service maintained by both Facebook and Internet.org and aims to deliver free connectivity to essential online apps and services to previously disconnected communities around the world.
Speaking at the event, Ime Archibong, the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Internet.org, laid out his vision for the Free Basics Platform and its launch in Africa. “œWhen people are connected, they can achieve extraordinary things as individuals and as a community. Connectivity brings opportunity for people around the world, and we‘ve seen this firsthand here in Africa, where we began this journey,“ Archibong said.
“I want to see more and more local entrepeneurs building local apps and services.” – Ime Archibong
The Free Basics Platform serves as a means for developers to create services that integrate with Free Basics; users who make use of Free Basics services will be able to access services free of charge.
“The power of mobility and the power of connectivity changed my life.” – Archibong
“” Bandwidth Blog (@BandwidthBlog) November 16, 2015
“We’re working with all operators”, Archibong stated, when posed a question dealing with Facebook and net neutrality.
At the event, the Praekelt Foundation and Facebook announced a new partnership which would support developers and social change organizations. The partnership is aimed at increasing the number of free websites and services available to users of the Free Basics Platform.
To support this, the Praekelt Foundation is launching an incubator programme that will provide resources and support to one hundred independently-selected social change organizations.
Every person on the planet has the right to receive the information they need, for free.” – Praekelt
“Praekelt Foundation believes that access to essential information and basic services is a human right. When people have access to the tools and knowledge that the internet and other digital communication technologies provide, they have access to opportunities that will make their lives better.“ said Gustav Praekelt, founder of the Praekelt Group. Praekelt continued: “œOver the last year, we have worked with NGOs to provide life-saving information to a potential audience of over 1 billion through Internet.org and the Free Basics Platform. We‘ve never seen our work reach so many people so quickly. But we need to do more, and through the creation of the Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics we will do just that.“
The Free Basics Platform is now available in 29 countries, including 14 in Africa, and will now reach over 1 billion people across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
What’re your thoughts on Facebook’s work with the Free Basics Platform? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!