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Inquirer.net joins FB in free mobile Internet

/ 04:44 AM March 22, 2015
Facebook director for Global Operator Partnerships Markku Makelainen. Photo by Mark Ferdinand Canoy/INQUIRER.net

Facebook director for Global Operator Partnerships Markku Makelainen. Photo by Janine Villagracia/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Thanks to a mobile application, even Filipinos who don’t have connectivity can now access online news content on Inquirer.net for free.

The Inquirer has partnered with the social networking site Facebook to bring free Internet service to users through the mobile application Internet.org, which allows users to browse its partner websites for free. As of date, Internet.org has 24 partner websites.

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The application, launched in the Philippines on March 18, also marked its first arrival in Southeast Asia. The Philippines now joins Colombia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia in hosting Internet.org.

In his official Facebook account, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “We’re one step closer to connecting the world as we launched Internet.org in the Philippines today. Now everyone in the country can have free access to Internet services for health, education, jobs and communication on the Smart network.”

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Powered by Smart Communications, the application provides free basic Internet services to Smart, Sun and Talk ’N Text subscribers, who can download it via Google Play. Non-Android users can simply text INTERNET to 9999 to access the free Internet service.

Easier to use

Markku Makelainen, Facebook director for Global Operator Partnerships, said the main goal of the initiative is to empower the “disconnected” populace and to link up everyone in the world by providing Internet connection in areas where connectivity is less affordable.

“We started two years back just thinking how we can help to connect the world, and last year we did a couple of tests with a handful of partners,” recalled Makelainen. “This year, we have basically found the model that works, (which is) sustainable for our partners, and (which) works for our users.”

He added: “It’s (also) easier to use so we are scaling this out now.”

Inquirer Group’s director for mobile and social JV Rufino said the Inquirer was supporting the Facebook initiative because “it is the mission of one of the top news organizations in the country to provide news and information to as many Filipinos as possible. It’s why we’re in print, broadcast, online, social and mobile (platforms). This initiative with Facebook naturally flows from that.”

The Inquirer also believes in “bridging the gap” brought about by “the digital divide and limited access to the Internet,” he added.

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He also believes that the information available to people greatly influence their decision-making, Rufino said. “The more information choices are made available to you, the greater your chance of making better decisions,” he added.

“Knowledge is power,” agreed Inquirer Interactive Inc. sales and marketing director Joanne Llavore. “(The application) allows us, a news publisher, to extend our reach to (a bigger) audience in the Philippines.”

Added Inquirer.net editor in chief John Nery: “The more Filipinos on the Internet, the better for the Philippines. The Internet.org democratic access project is an initiative worth watching—and supporting.”

Originally posted: 5:22 PM | Friday, March 20th, 2015

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Facebook, mobile internet browsing now free

Zuckerberg hails launch of Internet.org in PH

TOPICS: Facebook, Information, Inquirer, INQUIRER.net, Internet, Mobile, Philippines, Smart, technology
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