Do you know who used to blog using the pseudonym Gul Makai
? Malala Yousafzai
. Yes, she was only in the 7th standard when her diary started being published in BBC’s Urdu website highlighting the plight of an ordinary girl in the Taliban infested SWAT Valley. You and I know quite well what happened next. Her words, her story spread like wild fire inspiring millions around the world. And it all began, well, with the internet. Imagine then the avenues internet could open up for you and the world? Limitless.
But just as nothing in the world is really free, internet too, sadly, isn't. In spite of the possibilities, it just isn't free. And what that does is to keep it’s reach limited and hence it’s benefits too. Don’t you sometimes wonder why that is though? Well, I certainly do. While you and I can access the internet and pay for it without thinking too much about it, there are millions who would rather only use it if available for free.
Communication, information, education, entertainment, financial transactions, government services, all of these and much, much more are available on the internet. From transferring money to buying grocery, booking flights to doctor’s appointments, for everything you and I turn to the internet. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the internet has made the world much more interconnected than it ever was. So, what if I told you that Reliance and Facebook have jointly launched a website, internet.org, which provides a host of free services to Reliance customers? It makes you want to know more about it, doesn't it?
Internet.org, or the Reliance FreeNet connection, is aimed at providing affordable internet services to all.
Without the need to buy any special pack, Reliance customers can avail the benefit it offers. For the moment this FreeNet connection
has been made available only in 6 circles: Gujarat, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu/Chennai prepaid and postpaid GSM & prepaid CDMA customers only. All they need to do is access the website. And there is an app too, for now only for Android users of-course, through Google Play Store. However, the Iphone and Ipad users needn't worry for they can access the website directly.
What intrigues me is how empowering this service is and can be;how far it can reach.
► Information at your fingertips, from breaking news to weather.
► Access to E-commerce site like OLX.
► Breaking news from BBC, IBN Live to Aaj Tak.
► Encyclopedia in the form of Wikipedia.
► Music and entertainment websites.
► ESPN cricinfo for the cricket lovers.
► Website with information on health.
► Translator and Wikihow.
► Booking tickets.
► Of-course, Facebook too.
In a country with a population of over 1.27 billion, envision what the access to inexpensive internet can do.
And no I am not talking about people like you and me who probably have been using the internet for far too many years now, irrespective of the cost of access. I'm not talking about those who take internet access for granted. Yes, they will be impacted too but there is more, so much more.
Think about those who have yet to be touched by the phenomenon that the internet has turned out to be. A person can book tickets online instead of spending long hours standing in a queue. He can look for jobs from within the confines of his room, and that too jobs from all over the world.
Internet brings the world to your doorstep; news, information, knowledge, et al. So what internet.org
will be able to do is bring this very boon of the current century in to the hands of the common man. And from there, well, I think the possibilities could be limitless.
The key word here is information. Knowledge, intelligence, news, facts or figures, you name it what you will but it does one thing; it emancipates. Empowering individuals and eventually the nation. I believe, and strongly too, in what Maya Angelou once said if you know better, you do things better.
In my view, there is a strong chance of internet.org
giving people the opportunity to know more, to know better and do things better. Then maybe, just maybe, you and I could see another Malala come up in our midst; another inspiration taking birth. As I said in the beginning, the possibilities could be limitless.
'Internet.org, or the Reliance FreeNet connection, is aimed at providing affordable internet services to all.'