On Tuesday, Facebook collaborated with Airtel to launch free basic internet service in Nigeria under its Free Basics programme – a service where Nigerians will be able to access the internet and enjoy over 85 essential free services without being charged for data usage, The Cable reports.
Nigerians will be able to use this Facebook initiative to access free internet services using only Airtel mobile connection. The initiative will be deployed via Internet.org
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, noted that “there’s a lot of innovation across Africa right now, and Nigeria in particular is home to a lot of talented developers. Free Basics offers Nigerians, including 90 million people who are currently offline, the opportunity to access news, health, and other online services designed by Nigerian developers without having to pay for data.”
Already operative in over 40 countries worldwide, Free Basics will roll out over the next few months to connect website and app developers with direct consumers who would use the digital services to access education, jobs, finance, health, technology, and science among other free services aimed to upgrade people’s standard of living.
Up to this point, over 25 million people have been able to access free basic services on the internet without data charges under Facebook’s Free Basics. These people would not have been online or able to access free essential services without Free Basics. Ultimately, Facebook is committed to bringing more people online and reducing affordability barriers through the programme.
Christian de Faria, MD and CEO of Airtel Africa commended Facebook for helping to narrow the digital divide in Africa’s most populous country. Segun Ogunsanya, MD and CEO of Airtel Nigeria praised the initiative which would help to deepen digital connectivity and enhance mobile broadband access for millions of Nigerians.
“It is our belief that this partnership, the first of its kind in Nigeria, will create a plethora of opportunities for millions of Nigerians, empowering them to connect to their dreams, realize their full potentials, and succeed in their professional and personal endeavours,” Ogunsanya said.