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Zuckerberg’s Plea for ‘Free Internet’ in India

On Monday (28th Dec) Mark Zuckerberg , defended his ‘Free Basics service’ in India, that is intended to provide access to over 100 websites and applications at no charge. This came after the Indian authorities banned FB’s Free Basics service on the grounds that it violated net neutrality.

Zuckerberg responded to critics by comparing Facebook’s free limited internet service to libraries and hospitals.

“If we accept that everyone deserves access to the internet, then we must surely support free basic internet services,”

“That’s why more than 30 countries have recognized Free Basics as a program consistent with net neutrality and good for consumers.”

“In the 21st century, everyone also deserves access to the tools and information that can help them to achieve… all their fundamental social and economic rights”

However, the argument for Free Basics has been debatable in India, a country with a fastest-growing Internet adoption rate in the world.

Zuckerberg started ‘Internet.org’, which offers its Free Basics service to nearly 35 countries across the globe.

‘Internet.org’  associates with telecoms to provide free access to the Internet. However, it is only designed to offer user “basic” Internet services like accessing Facebook and Wikipedia. Thus, users are not able to freely roam the Internet for anything they want.

FreeBasics
FreeBasics

Indeed, only sites and apps that have met Facebook-determined technical requirements can be included in Free Basics service.

“More than 35 operators have launched Free Basics and 15 million people have come online,”

“And half the people who use Free Basics to go online for the first time pay to access the full internet within 30 days. So the data is clear. Free Basics is a bridge to the full internet and digital equality.”

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is expected to make a decision on the legality of Free Basics in January 2016.

Source : Time

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