Internet.org has helped over 800 thousand Indians get online, a report from Facebook said.The company shared numbers regarding Internet.org project in India, where the app is currently supported in seven telecom circles out of 20 telecom circles.
The report also said that 20 percent of Internet.org users were previously not active on mobile data and that their app has helped more new people come online.
The social network giant also says that Internet.org does not restrict or limit connectivity and said that their platform ended up serving as a platform to boost overall Internet usage. According to the data, the new internet users acquired by Internet.org used only 7 percent of data from Internet.org (including Free Facebook, wikipedia etc).
Facebook claims that these new users are now consuming more than 100MB per month outside of Internet.org.
Internet.org in India
Internet.org was launched in India in association with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in early February 2015 and is available in seven telecom Circles of Mumbai, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chennai, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Facebook plans to extend the services to the rest of the country
Internet.org has faced criticism in light of the Net Neutrality debate in India with critics pointing out that being a zero-rating app, it violates the principle. Others have said that Internet.org restricts access to services for users and creates a walled-garden and that it won’t really help the poor get online.
However, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in facebook post has defended the programme saying that Internet.org can co-exist with Net Neutrality as the app platform is free and open to all developers and is increasing market reach. Using Internet.org, users can access sites Facebook, Bing Search, BBC India, wikiHow, OLX, ESPN Cricinfo, Jagran, Dictionary.com.
Facebook, earlier claimed to have 800 million active users in 9 countries. The ambitious program aims at bringing 5 billion users to online in partnership with giants like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Mediatek, Opera, Reliance, Airtel.