Free Data access to Wikipedia will end this year

wikipedia foundation

After sunshine, knowledge is the next most important thing the human species cannot do without. The supply of both sunlight and knowledge should never be limited or denied to anyone, and that is precisely what Wikipedia Foundation stands for.

The Foundation, despite owning one of the most popular websites in the universe, chose not to put up ads. Only God knows how much ads-revenue Wikipedia will rack up if they had decided to put up ads.

The Wikipedia Foundation believes in making information freely available to anyone; and everyone. In 2012 it took another bold move of availing information free to the masses. Mozilla started partnering with mobile telecommunication service providers to provide free access to the site on mobile devices.

That partnership allowed millions of people to access Wikipedia without having to pay any mobile data on their phone. However, a lot of things have changed since 2012. The average cost of mobile data across the globe has fallen. Additionally, less and less mobile service carriers are coming forward to join the free Wikipedia access.

For such reasons, the Wikipedia Foundation has decided to pull the plug on free data access to their site. Going forward, the Foundation will no longer set up a new deal with any mobile service carrier to join the Wikipedia Zero program. Additionally, all currently existing deals between the Wikipedia Foundation and mobile carriers on the Wikipedia Zero program will expire at the end of this year.

In its six years running, Wikipedia Zero saw some 92 mobile carriers across 72 countries around the world give their subscribers free access to Wikipedia mobile site. The site had over 800 million people getting access without paying for internet connection.

The Foundation argues that since 2016, the number of users (even telecoms) interested in accessing the site has significantly dropped. The Foundation believes that the drop in the cost of mobile data has attributed substantially to the dying interest.

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