LIMA – More than 2 million people in Peru have free access to basic Web content through the internet.org platform offered by Facebook for customers of Entel, the country’s No. 3 cellular provider.
Peru is the 19th country where Facebook has implemented the initiative and the fifth in Latin America after Colombia, Guatemala, Panama and Paraguay.
The official launch of the service was attended by Transport and Communications Minister Jose Gallardo, Facebook executive Sergi Herrero, Entel Vice President Ignatio Nores, and the Unicef representative in Peru, Olga Isaza.
Gallardo said that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg proposed the idea to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala during a conversation at April’s Summit of the Americas in Panama.
Herrero said that internet.org’s goal is to provide Web access to the 50 percent of Peruvians who aren’t connected to the Internet.
“We want to demonstrate in an accessible way what the Internet is and the value it can bring to people’s lives with an offer of free services related with education, health and weather among other contents,” Herrero said.
“We noticed that the people who are less connected remain under the coverage of telephone networks, so we saw that the best way to reach them was through phone operators,” he said.
Nores said that all Entel subscribers will have access to the platform developed by Facebook “without additional charges on their bills.”
Currently about 38 percent of Peruvians access the Internet through mobile networks and 1.4 million users connect with Facebook on Entel’s networks, he said.
Isaza said that tools such as internet.org are welcome to achieve Unicef’s goal to ensure the rights of children.
Unicef is part of an alliance seeking to make sure that all of the internet.org content is “related to daily life, basic, useful and of good quality” for all users, she said.