By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-Chief
Last year Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook announced he was going to bring internet access to the two thirds of the world that didn’t already have access. The project, called Internet.org has already launched projects in Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. By partnering with telecom companies around the world, Facebook is working to bring free or affordable internet access to consumers.
According to the company, “The Internet.org app provides free basic services in markets where internet access may be less affordable. It allows people to browse selected health, employment and local information websites without data charges.”
In its latest announcement, made yesterday, Facebook launched in Colombia with telecoms provider Tigo. Among the services offered in the app for the first time is an e-reader provided by Spanish ebook subscription company 24 Symbols.
“We are providing some 5,000 Spanish-language public domain and classics titles for free to Tigo users in Colombia,” said Justo Hidalgo of 24 Symbols. “IT was a relatively straightforward process for us. We already work with Tigo in Guatemala to provide a white label ebook service. For this, the major change is that we used the same tool and took away the log-in.”
The Internet.org app is bundled in Guatemala with free access to other services, including Google, Wikipedia and Accuweather.
Asked about the relevance of the relationship with Facebook, Hidalgo said he was “ecstatic.”
“Say what you will about them, this is just a wonderful project,” said Hidalgo. “It has always been our agenda to make sure you can read what you want, when you want, in whatever format you want. This is another great step in that direction — toward getting more people to read, people who otherwise wouldn’t have access.”