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Facebook Inc and Bharti Airtel formed a partnership to provide free Internet services including Wikipedia in Zambia, according to Guy Rosen, a product management director at Facebook. The offering will be provided through mobile application Internet.org, named after a project developed by the world’s biggest social networking site to expand internet access to the 5 billion people yet to go online.
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The Internet.org app will offer, in partnership with wireless operator Airtel, more than a dozen services including online encyclopedia Wikipedia, websites devoted to weather, job listings and health information, as well as Facebook’s own social network and messaging service.

The app will be available in additional countries over the coming months and years, Guy Rosen, product management director for Facebook’s Internet.org effort said on Wednesday.  Facebook will not pay Airtel for the bandwidth, Rosen said, but Airtel will benefit as users who are exposed to internet services eventually decide to pay for broader, unrestricted access.

Access to the information on the app’s included services is free, but links that lead to information on other websites will require that users pay wireless data charges. The free version of Facebook in the app does not allow for the video playback. Facebook has partnered with more than 150 wireless providers over the past four years to offer free or discounted access to its social network, but the new app in Zambia marks the first time the company has Added web services beyond its own social network to the menu of free services.
 
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