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Facebook provides free internet access to Pakistani citizens

Updated May 28, 2015

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A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration. -Reuters/File
A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration. -Reuters/File

In an interesting breakthrough for mobile users in Pakistan, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the provision of free internet access for users in Pakistan through the social-media giant's new initiative Internet.org — which is currently available on Telenor network.

Facebook’s chief calls this initiative “another step towards connecting the world”.

Zuckerberg announced the launch of Internet.org in Pakistan on Wednesday through a Facebook post.

Internet.org is a latest Facebook enterprise through which the company aims at providing free internet access to people in developing countries. Before Pakistan, this project has been successfully launched in India and Bangladesh.

The project gives people access to free basic internet services for health, education, jobs and communication.

“This is because the internet brings access to jobs, education and health information, and valuable communication tools,” explains Zuckerberg.

He said: “Research shows that for every 10 people who gain access to the internet, at least one person is lifted out of poverty. We have the opportunity to lift up more than hundreds of millions of users around the world.”

Speaking about the future of this project, Zuckerberg had said: “I'm optimistic that by getting free basic services into people's hands, more change can follow pretty rapidly.”

“One day, we will connect everyone, and the power of the internet will serve every community across the world. That day is coming.”

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also expressed great joy and excitement over the launch of Internet.org in Pakistan. “I'm proud to share that today we are launching Internet.org in Malala's home country, Pakistan.”

“People on the Telenor Pakistan network will now be able to access free basic internet services, including information on health and education, as well as incredible resources like Wikipedia,” she said.

"It's a step towards a future where everyone – regardless of sex, race or nationality – has access to knowledge and the opportunities the Internet can bring," she concluded.

On this occasion, Michael Foley, Chief Executive Officer, Telenor Pakistan said, “We are delighted to introduce the Internet.org initiative in Pakistan today with a host of useful online services including health, education, finance, news, information and job portals etc. for our millions of customers nationwide."

Internet.org was first launched in July 2014 in Zambia and in less than a year it made valuable online services accessible without data charges for millions of people in Tanzania, Kenya, Colombia, Ghana, India, Philippines, Guatemala, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malawi and now in Pakistan.