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Free Basics: Establishing connectivity for everyone

Facebook's free internet service, Free Basics, has announced a new partnership with the Praekelt Foundation - establishing free start-up incubators for countries with limited access to the internet.
Ime Archibong, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Facebook, has been travelling around Africa and emerging countries around the world to help bring the wealth of the internet to mobile phones. Internet.org by Facebook is an initiative which partners with telecommunications companies to provide the digital platform.

"When people are connected, they can achieve extraordinary things as individuals and as a community. Connectivity brings opportunity for people around the world, and we've seen this first-hand here in Africa, where we began this journey," says Archibong.

Internet.org - Elisha's Daughters from Peter Jordan on Vimeo.


Free Basics launched in May this year and is now in 29 countries bringing more than 15-million people online. It's helping local developers create platforms in their own countries and spread awareness about health, economy and legal rights. Archibong spoke of two barriers which exist when trying to market the platform.

The first is affordability. Generally people in emerging countries can't afford the expenses that come with data packages. This is why Internet.org is free. The second barrier was awareness. This stems from a lack of understanding about the internet and why people need it, which is why the service is easy-to-use.

One of the biggest reasons people need the internet is education. The platform hosts a number of websites relating to education, health information, human rights and more, all with no data charges. African countries that now have access to Free Basics include Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Senegal, Zambia, Ghana, Angola and Malawi.

The Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics


Gustav Praekelt, Group Founder and CEO of the Praekelt Foundation helps build robust scalable solutions to help deliver information. The announcement of their partnership with Free Basics will provide workshops and incubators for small enterprises. The initiative will start with 100 independently-led social change organisations, and will help them build their services and eventually launch on Free Basics.

The initiative will provide a toolbox of technologies to help organisations adapt their mobile strategies to the market, as well as create new platforms to distribute their content on the Free Basics app.

"Praekelt Foundation believes that access to essential information and basic services is a human right. When people have access to the tools and knowledge that the internet and other digital communication technologies provide, they have access to opportunities that will make their lives better," said Praekelt.

Want to get involved with Free Basics? Click here to find out how you can get your organisation onto the platform.

If you're a small independently-owned establishment who would like to register for the Praekelt Foundation Incubator for Free Basics, click here.

About Beverley Klein

Beverley Klein is the editor of the Marketing Media South Africa section on Bizcommunity.com. With a background in journalism and historical studies, she's dived into the world of industry news, curating content, writing and interviewing thought leaders. She's often spotted in a forest on the weekend and rarely seen without a camera. Follow @BevCPT.
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