At a media event in Mumbai, Facebook announced that it is teaming up with Indian carrier Reliance in launching the Internet.org initiative in the country. The project, which aims to provide free access to basic internet services on mobile, will be available exclusively to Reliance subscribers in six Indian states, with more being added at a later stage.
The service is now available in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, with Facebook stating that the launch of Internet.org in India ties in with the social network's efforts to "connect everyone to the internet, and to help people share their ideas and creativity with the entire world." You need to be a Reliance subscriber in the aforementioned states to access the website, and have mobile data enabled, although access to the service itself will not count toward your data plan.
Currently, Internet.org allows residents in the country to access over three dozen services for free, ranging from news publications like BBC News, maternal health, travel, local jobs, sports via ESPN Cricinfo, communication, and local government information. Facebook and Facebook Messenger access is also included. For a full list of available services, head here. The services are available in English as well as local languages including Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
There's a dedicated app for Internet.org on Android, but you can access the mobile website from your BlackBerry handset to avail the services on offer. There's also another BlackBerry relation here. Andrew Bocking, former Executive Vice President of BBM, is now the Product Manager for Internet.org at Facebook.
Indian readers, what do you think of the Internet.org initiative?