Wikipedia Zero is closing it’s doors after six years of service
Wikipedia has long been one of the most useful sites on the web for learning new information. Six years ago, a spin-off program entitled Wikipedia Zero was created, which was designed to give access to Wikipedia without counting against a mobile data cap. Users could get access to the hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles as much as they want without ever worrying about the cost. This allowed hundreds of millions of people to have cheap and plentiful access to knowledge about any topic they wanted, and it was a major success in many countries such as India and Angola.
Today, the Wikimedia Foundation formally announced that it would be ending the Wikipedia Zero program over the course of 2018. This marks the end of the free service, which required contracts setup with mobile carriers so that they would not count Wikipedia against a customer’s data usage. The contracts setup are all set to expire this year, so by December 31, the program will be completely extinct. Because the exact expiration dates were not provided by the foundation, it will end in some countries sooner than others. Some countries may have it until late 2018, while some may lose it as early as next month.
Not all is lost, however. The Wikimedia Foundation claims they are searching for alternative ways to help people get access to the online encyclopedia and find the information they are looking for. Maybe this program will see a rebirth in another form, such as satellites or open WiFi networks placed in cities that offer direct access to the site. Only time will tell, but it seems that the Wikimedia Foundation is not quite done with trying to get Wikipedia in the hands of every person on the planet.