Facebook has been named as an associate member of the Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents mobile service providers and telecommunications equipment manufacturers in that country.
Facebook Public Policy Director for India and South Asia Ankhi Das said in a release announcing the social network’s associate membership in COAI:
Over 85 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with existing cellular coverage, yet only about 30 percent of the total population accesses the Internet. Affordability and awareness are significant barriers to internet adoption. Facebook believes that overcoming these barriers and connecting people has immense value, from empowering people to exercise their rights to freely express themselves, promoting transparency and democratic values and allowing people to access affordable data services in areas such as health care, education and information, which they otherwise cannot afford. Access equals opportunity, creating more economic, social and political opportunities for everybody.
Joining COAI as an associate member reflects our focus on mobile technologies, access and our continued desire to work in collaboration with the industry to increase connectivity. We look forward to playing an active role as a member.
And COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews added:
We welcome Facebook India Online Services to the COAI family. Social networking, especially Facebook, has changed the way Indians work, play, communicate, socialize and do business. We believe this will further grow to become a crucial part of and influence the socio-economic culture in the country. We feel that Facebook’s active participation in COAI activities will result in mutual value addition and bring the much needed synergy of functioning between the service providers and the content/VAS (value-added services) players.