afaqs! news bureau
Digital

Unilever, Internet.org join hands to equip rural India with internet access

The partnership aims to better understand the barriers to connectivity in rural communities.

Unilever has partnered with Internet.org (a Facebook-led alliance) to better understand how internet access can be made accessible to millions of people across rural India.

Unilever, Internet.org join hands to equip rural India with internet access
Unilever, Internet.org join hands to equip rural India with internet access
Unilever, Internet.org join hands to equip rural India with internet access
Other than Facebook, the founding partners of Internet.org are Ericsson, Nokia, Mediatek, Opera Software, Qualcomm and Samsung.

According to the press statement issued by Unilever, only 13 per cent of the Indian population has access to the internet. As an initial step, Internet.org and Unilever will carry out a comprehensive study to examine the opportunities to increase internet adoption in rural communities.

Apart from infrastructure and cost which are known barriers to connectivity, the partnership will carefully evaluate other educational and cultural factors that limit internet use. With this, Internet.org aims to bring the benefits of the internet to one and all.

By leveraging Unilever's vast on ground expertise, through a comprehensive research and activation programme, the partnership aims to better understand the barriers to connectivity in rural communities.

Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer, Unilever says, "Access to the internet is improving in countries like India but there is still a very high proportion of people that would love the opportunity to connect and engage but who cannot enjoy what many of us take for granted. Having no internet access naturally removes all associated opportunities that it brings which, in turn, can be a barrier to learning and ultimately hinder economic development. Through our long history of serving the Indian market we bring an in-depth understanding of rural Indian communities. We hope, together with Internet.org, we can use this know-how to understand better how a vital modern resource can benefit many more millions."

Chris Weasler, director of Global Connectivity, Facebook adds, "The internet not only connects us to our friends, families and communities, but it's also the foundation of the global knowledge economy and a way to deliver basic financial services, health and educational tools. In partnership with Unilever, we hope to break down the barriers to access and, in turn, provide millions of people with the information that can help them, and their communities, thrive."

For the record, Internet.org is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world's population that doesn't have it. Sharing tools, resources and best practices, Internet.org partners will explore solutions in three major opportunity areas: affordability, efficiency and business models.