Operators in Peru teamed with Facebook to trial an app allowing people to access websites using a daily allocation of free mobile data, aiming to promote connectivity and enhance access to health information during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
In a blog, Facebook product manager Yoav Zeevi said the Discover app trial launched yesterday (5 May) in partnership with Bitel, Claro, Entel and Movistar.
Zeevi said the app will “treat all websites equally”, and was developed using feedback and recommendations from civil society groups and other stakeholders, addressing concerns over potential net neutrality breaches with the company’s Free Basics programme, on which the latest move builds.
Discover will be available as a mobile internet and Android app, offering low-bandwidth traffic while the free allowance is being used. Video, audio and other data-intensive content are excluded.
Facebook said health resources will be highlighted on the app’s homepage as part of the Covid-19 angle.
The trial will assess how to enable consistent online access along with helping users extend “their regular data balance and support internet adoption”.
Facebook plans to expand trials to Iraq, Thailand and the Philippines in the coming weeks, and explore opportunities in other markets where operators express interest.