Wikipedia: ends no-cost mobile access for developing countries

Wikipedia: ends no-cost mobile access for developing countries

Wikipedia Zero an initiative that delivers the online encyclopedia at no charge to mobile users all around with the world, gets killed off by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The zero-rated service Wikipedia Zero was launched back in 2012. And the service saw the nonprofit partner with mobile carriers to waive the cost to access Wikipedia; it had been available through ninety seven mobile operators in seventy two countries, with a cumulative eight hundred million subscribers.

The organization did say that it has noticed a significant drop off in adoption and interest in the very program, over the previous two years. The organisation also cited low awareness about Wikipedia as one of the reasons why people were not using it. The other reason behind this step is actually a sign of change for the better: mobile data costs have been dropping in the previous few years.

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According to a research by the Alliance for Affordable Internet coalition from November 2017, countries in Africa saw greatest drop in data charges between the years 2015 and 2016 – though the price still does remain the highest in the world when is considered as a percentage of the average income.

That is still a good sign, and it is likely that the emergence of newer technologies such as 5G, as well as proliferation of 4G, would drive these costs even lower in the years to come.

It is also worth to note that Wikipedia’s service may not be scalable across all around the globe, as regulators in some of the countries frown upon zero-rated services that subsidize the cost of access to the subscribers, as it has the potential for granting companies and advantages over their competition.

Another point to note is that India’s Aircel carrier did sign on to offer Wikipedia Zero to its 60 million subscribers back in the year 2013 without much of a fuss; Facebook could find its Free Basics zero-rated service banned in the country following backlash from the critics who were concerned about it becoming a gatekeeper that could control what of the information and services internet first-timers would become able to access.

The Wikimedia Foundation does say it is evaluating other ways of bringing Wikipedia to more people all around the world, so we will have to wait and see in what way it attempts to achieve that after carriers’ contracts for delivering Wikipedia Zero expire through the current year.

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