Facebook took it's Internet.org app to Zambia back in July, and now it's heading to Latin America. The social network announced today that folks in Colombia would now be able to use a handful of connected tools free of charge. Tigo customers can access Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluación de la Educación (an education service) and Agronet (agriculture and rural development info) at no cost, as well as things like Facebook, Messenger, UNICEF, Wikipedia, AccuWeather and more. In addition to the initial 16 services, more will be added in the future as Internet.org continues to expand its reach to other parts of the world. While a load of useful tools have been a part of the free app for a while, the version that's launching in Colombia is the first to offer access to government services.
During a Q&A in Bogotá, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that due to the infrastructure required to do so, giving folks in developing areas access to the entire internet for free may never happen. However, through the Internet.org project, handy apps for searching job listings, speaking with a doctor and getting local news will help give users info they usually wouldn't have access to. Zuckerberg also noted that by removing the data plan requirement, only the cost of a phone is the barrier to access, and the one-time cost of the device itself is much cheaper. What's more, once Internet.org reaches more locales, further reducing the cost of those handsets is a goal for the future.