Afghanistan will soon have free mo­bile ac­cess to Wikipedia

Tehran Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Afghanistan has been rapidly im­prov­ing its tech­no­log­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture since the Tal­iban was ousted in 2001. A group of film his­to­ri­ans in the coun­try re­cently dig­i­tized films that had been saved from de­struc­tion dur­ing Tal­iban rule. An all­girl ro­bot­ics team fought a re­cent travel ban and fi­nally got the chance to com­pete in the US. And in 2010, the coun­try moved ahead with plans for na­tional elec­tronic ID cards. Now, thanks to a part­ner­ship be­tween re­gional provider Roshan and the Wiki­me­dia Foun­da­tion, peo­ple in Afghanistan will get free ac­cess to Wikipedia via their phones for the next year.

Ac­cord­ing to the In­de­pen­dent, the Wikipedia Zero ini­tia­tive is set to launch in the re­gion later this month. It will give any­one in Afghanistan full ac­cess to Wikipedia in­clud­ing search and edit­ing abil­i­ties. The ac­cess will not count to­wards users’ data plans, ei­ther. Con­sid­er­ing that Roshan just added 4G ser­vice last month, this is a big step for­ward. Wikipedia Zero has been pro­vid­ing free ac­cess around the globe since Au­gust of 2012, and has since added more than 60 op­er­a­tors in 50 other coun­tries to the list.

“The part­ner­ship with the Wiki­me­dia Foun­da­tion ex­pands the fron­tier of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge, es­pe­cially for Afghanistan’s youth who make up al­most two-thirds of the pop­u­la­tion,” deputy CEO of Roshan, Altaf Ladak, said in a state­ment.

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