Facebook opens portal to expand Internet.org reach

New York, July 28 (IANS) In a bid to rope in more mobile operators into the Internet.org project, Facebook has announced a dedicated portal that provides a go-to resource for the operators seeking to connect with Facebook and offer the service, media reports said.

The announcement came as Facebook marks the first anniversary of the launch of its Internet.org service, which enables free mobile access to a selection of web services in emerging markets, online publisher of technology industry news, TechCrunch reported.

“As we approach year two.. [we] are now ready to scale Internet.org free basic services. We’ve made it easier for any mobile operator to turn on Internet.org in new countries through a partner portal that includes technical tools and best practices, improving the process to offer free basic services to the unconnected,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

Internet.org began with initial launches in Africa, but it has since expanded to cover 17 countries — including India, Pakistan and Indonesia — across three continents.

Facebook argued that more than half of the nine million users to have used the service signed up for a paid-for data package of some kind within the first month, and that it has directly led phone owners to adopt new services 50 percent faster than they otherwise would.

Internet.org has attracted wide criticism for violating the principles of net neutrality.

Facebook is hoping that operators will put their concerns aside and see the business value that it claims Internet.org can deliver.

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