Elsewhere online
October 10, 2014

In India, Mark Zuckerberg Pushes Free Internet for the Poor

Speaking Thursday at a connectivity conference in New Delhi, the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his Internet.org project would work to extend free mobile web service to India's rural poor, writes The Washington Post.

Mr. Zuckerberg said the initiative has set aside $1-million to develop apps in local languages for farmers, women, and students in developing countries. He called connectivity a "human right" that "can’t be restricted to just the rich and powerful." While India has the world's third-largest number of Internet users, hundreds of millions of people in rural regions lack access.

Internet.org, which the Facebook boss launched with other tech giants last year, aims to expand connectivity in the developing world by working with cellphone operators to offer free but limited data plans providing access to major sites such as Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook as well as health and job information. Some critics say the project blurs the lines between philanthropy and commerce to help Facebook gain users in countries such as India where it has relatively low penetration.