FB has shutdown Free Basics program in India. RCom, which is the only distributor of Free Basics will soon start charging for the service. Subscribers will have to pay applicable data charges for accessing websites or apps through the zero-rated Free Basics platform, once technical modifications are done.
TRAI has announced its verdict on Facebook’s free basics and while the regulatory body has acknowledged ((and blasted) Facebook for its unethical campaign, the final verdict is pro-freedom and has said no to Facebook’s Free Basics program.
Facebook claims that it has support from 11 million people for its Free Basics program, while TRAI has received only 1.89 million votes. FB has to bring support from the rest of 9 million people by today, but FB is unable to reach out to people who had responded via missed calls or emails.
“Consultation papers are not opinion polls. We are not getting an opinion poll… Consultation paper always asks a question, seeking responses with justification. We expect stakeholder who participate in the process to provide meaningful inputs to us”, says TRAI chairman.
Microsoft India Chairman, Bhaskar Pramanik said, “I don’t think what Facebook is doing is about net neutrality; it is about helping first-time users get on the Internet and they should call it that. But to muddy it and say that it is also net neutral doesn’t make sense.”
“If you dictate what the poor should get, you take away their rights to choose what they think is best for them”
The company had recently started the CDMA testing and informed TRAI after which the commercial roll out of the service was stopped, an official from the company said. A consultation paper by TRAI will be put up for responses from December 28 to January 4, after which a call will be taken on Free Basics.
The notice was sent 2 weeks back, but Reliance is yet to stop the service. Lately, Facebook has been several tricky and unethical means to garner support for Free Basics (a.k.a Internet.org), while the truth remains that Free Basics is a walled-garden approach and will kill innovation and Internet freedom.
… something which is branded internet, it’s not internet, then you just say no. No it isn’t free, no it isn’t in the public domain, there are other ways of reducing the price of internet connectivity and giving something
Anyone currently using the app will be able to continue using the Android app, though it will now be called Free Basics by Facebook in Google Play. And the mobile web version, which will redirect from the previous URL, can be accessed at FreeBasics.com.