(this press release can also be found online at
* VimpelCom partners with the Wikimedia Foundation to offer free
mobile Wikipedia access through Wikipedia Zero
San Francisco, California and Amsterdam, The Netherlands -- January
25, 2013 -- VimpelCom Ltd. and the Wikimedia Foundation today
announced a partnership to offer Wikipedia on mobile devices free of
data charges to VimpelCom customers. By making Wikipedia available at
no data charge to its customers, VimpelCom is removing barriers to
information while joining the Wikimedia Foundation to increase access
to the free and open knowledge available on Wikipedia.
This partnership is part of the Wikimedia Foundation's Wikipedia Zero
program, which focuses on reaching the billions of people around the
world whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile
"We're very happy VimpelCom is joining us in removing a major barrier
to accessing Wikipedia on mobile phones. This partnership is an
important step forward in our mission to bring free knowledge to
everyone on the planet," said Kul Takanao Wadhwa, Head of Mobile with
the Wikimedia Foundation. "In conjunction with VimpelCom, one of the
largest telecommunication providers in the world, we're now able to
expand free access to Wikipedia in more countries. With this
partnership, Wikipedia Zero is now available to 330 million mobile
users around the world."
VimpelCom customers will be able to access free Wikipedia knowledge by
pointing their mobile browser to m.wikipedia.org. Customers in each
VimpelCom market will be able to access local language versions of
Wikipedia along with the English version.
"The world's sixth largest telecommunications company and fifth
largest website globally are coming together to offer our customers a
better mobile experience and greater access to free knowledge,
particularly in emerging markets," said Mikhail Gerchuk, VimpelCom
Group's Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer. "This is a win-win
partnership that helps us promote mobile internet to our customers
while contributing to Wikipedia's mission to bring free access to all
the world's knowledge."
Wikipedia Zero will be rolled out in VimpelCom operations across the
globe starting this year, with focus on emerging markets in Eastern
Europe, Asia and Africa. While Wikipedia Zero will be the first
initiative of the partnership to launch, both partners are also
expected to jointly develop additional Wikimedia services to target
emerging markets in the future.
Questions and answers about the partnership and Wikipedia Zero can be found at:
* About VimpelCom
VimpelCom is one of the world's largest integrated telecommunications
services operators providing voice and data services through a range
of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia,
Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia,
Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi,
Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. VimpelCom's operations
around the globe cover territory with a total population of
approximately 780 million people. VimpelCom provides services under
the "Beeline", "Kyivstar", "djuice", "Wind", "Infostrada" "Mobilink",
"Leo", "banglalink", "Telecel", and "Djezzy" brands. As of September
30, 2012 VimpelCom had 212 million mobile subscribers on a combined
basis. VimpelCom is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the
VimpelCom Media Contact
+31 20 79 77 200 (Amsterdam)
* About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 483 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November
2012). Available in 280 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 23
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.
Wikimedia Foundation media contact
+1 415-839-6885 ext 6635 (San Francisco)
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in the subject line)
the new bulletin from Wikimedia Italia (#44) is available.
This time we write about participation of Wikimedia Italia to an initiative
for an Open School, and of course the hitting of the one millionth article
mark for Wikipedia in Italian.
As usual a link has been added to meta, at
Wikimedia_chapters/Reports/Wikimedia_Italia ; raw text of the bulletin
The passing of Aaron Swartz
Andrea Zanni, a member of Wikimedia Italia board, spoke on Radio3 Science
commenting on the story of the sudden death of Aaron Swartz, a symbol of
the freedom of access to knowledge (you can listen him
from minute 3:20). On January 11, 2013, in New York, Aaron Swartz committed
suicide at the age of 26 years. Aaron was a young American programmer and
activist, engaged for years in the struggle for digital democracy and
freedom of knowledge.
One million articles on Italian Wikipedia
Italian Wikipedia has reached its millionth article, becoming thus the
fifth language to reach this milestone after English, German, French and
Dutch. The article which hit the threshold should be it:8mm_(gruppo_musicale)
8mm <http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/8mm_%28gruppo_musicale%29_8mm>. Read the
press release <http://wiki.wikimedia.it/wiki/Comunicati_stampa/unmilione>by
Wikimedia Italia (in Italian) and the
entry on Wikimedia
English, Italian and Spanish).
Towards an Open School
“Verso una Scuola Open <http://bit.ly/ZacJlY>” (Towards an Open School) is
an initiative sponsored by the Centro Formazione Insegnanti (Teacher
Training Center) in Rovereto, which aims to raise awareness in the school
world on the topic of conscious access to shared knowledge. On Thursday,
January 17, the project held a conference in Trento, to weigh up the
state-of-the-art for Open Source for education at the local level. Frieda
Brioschi, the chair of Wikimedia Italia, participated as a speaker, telling
the audience about the educational projects promoted by the
va a scuola <http://wiki.wikimedia.it/wiki/Wikipedia_va_a_scuola>(Wikipedia
goes to school).
Official launch of Wikivoyage
On January 15th, Wikipedia turned 12 years old. For the occasion, Wikimedia
Foundation officially launched the project Wikivoyage<http://wikivoyage.org/>,
a free travel guide anyone can contribute to. Find out how you can
News in brief
(Note: in this translated version only the news regarding Italy are shown)
- On January 15, the project Wikidata in Hungarian started, with the
activation of the dedicated extension. Project is scheduled to launch in
Italy in a short time: we will keep you updated!
- SAVE THE DATE: Next 2 March the official Members' Meeting for
Wikipedia Italia will be held in Milan. As usual, everyone can participate
but only members in good standing with the payment of the fee for 2013 will
be entitled to vote.
Posted today on the Wikimedia Tech Blog:
Wikimedia sites to move to primary data center in Ashburn, Virginia
Next week, the Wikimedia Foundation will transition its main technical
operations to a new data center in Ashburn, Virginia, USA. This is intended
to improve the technical performance and reliability of all Wikimedia
sites, including Wikipedia.
Engineering teams have been preparing for the migration to minimize
inconvenience to our users, but major service disruption is still expected
during the transition. Our sites will be in read-only mode for some time,
and may be intermittently inaccessible. Users are advised to be patient
during those interruptions, and share
case of continued outage or loss of functionality.
The current target windows for the migration are January 22nd, 23rd and
24th, 2013, from 17:00 to 01:00 UTC (see other
Wikimedia sites have been hosted in our main data center in Tampa, Florida,
since 2004; before that, the couple of servers powering Wikipedia were in
San Diego, California. Ashburn is the third and newest primary data center
to host Wikimedia sites.
A major reason for choosing Tampa, Florida as the location of the primary
data center in 2004 was its proximity to founder Jimmy Wales’ home, at a
time when he was much more involved in the technical operations of the
site. In 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Operations team started
other locations with better network connectivity and more clement
weather. Located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Ashburn offers
faster and more reliable connectivity than Tampa, and usually fewer
The Operations team started to plan and prepare for the Virginia data
center in Summer 2010. The actual build-out and racking of servers at the
colocation facility started in February 2011, and was followed by a long
period of hardware, system and software configuration. Traffic started to
be served to users from the Ashburn data center in November 2011, in the
We reached a major milestone in February 2012, when caching servers were
set up to handle read-only requests for Wikipedia and Wikimedia content,
which represent most of the traffic to Wikipedia and its sister sites. In
April 2012, the Ashburn data center also started to serve media files (from
Cacheable requests represent about 90 percent of our traffic, leaving 10
percent that requires interaction with our web (Apache) and database
(MySQL) servers, which are still being hosted in Tampa. Until now, every
edit made to a Wikipedia page has been handled by the servers in Tampa.
This dependency on our Tampa data center was responsible for the site
outage in August
when a fiber cut severed the connection between our two locations.
Starting next week, the new servers in Ashburn will take on that role as
well, and all our sites will be able to function fully without relying on
the servers in Florida. The legacy data center in Tampa will continue to be
maintained, and will serve as a secondary “hot failover” data center:
servers will be in standby mode to take over, should the primary site
experiences an outage. Server configuration and data will be synchronized
between the two locations to ensure a transition as smooth as possible in
case of technical difficulties in Ashburn.
Besides just installing newer hardware, setting up the data center in
Ashburn has also been an opportunity for architecture overhauls, like
incremental improvements of the text storage
and the move to an entirely new media storage
keep up with the growth of the content generated and curated by our
Wikimedia’s technical infrastructure aims to be as open and collaborative
as the sites it powers. Most of the configuration of our
publicly accessible, and the Wikimedia
allows contributors to test and submit improvements to the
sites’ configuration files.
The Wikimedia Foundation currently operates a total of about 885 servers,
and serves about 20 billion page views a month, on a non-profit budget that
relies almost entirely on donations from readers.
Technical Communications Manager — Wikimedia Foundation