Bangladeshi number three Robi has launched Facebook’s Internet.org initiative in the South Asian country.
Internet.org enables users to access a number of websites and internet services free of charge, providing information on current affairs, health, employment and e-government initiatives. Initially launched last year in Namibia, Internet.org has spread to several developing countries.
However, the initiative has received criticism as it zero rates data for specific websites – often considered a violation of net neutrality. Several content providers in India, including online retailer Flipkart, pulled their support for the service in the face of public outcry. The Indian regulator TRAI has ruled that the services does indeed contravene these principles.
Facebook has addressed these criticisms by unveiling a more ‘open’ Internet.org platform which will allow content providers and app developers to receive the benefits of the service, providing they meet certain guidelines. Although customers will be able to access services for free, the end goal is to convert them to paid mobile data users.