Facebook has been attempting to provide some internet services for free in India, as part of a program called Free Basics, however, The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has decided to not support the initiative any longer, stating that “The question has arisen whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content.” This is because the program will provide access to only certain websites, which doesn’t seem very “net neutral.” However, Mark Zuckerburg says that having some access to the internet is better than having none.
When you look at the initiative’s website, internet.org, it appears that the reason for the limitation of services is that Facebook wants to limit the available sites to those that will work best on older devices and slower networks that are found in third world countries. However, many activists, like those at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, worry that the Free Basics service would make people with no internet access reliant on the service, which doesn’t provide everything that paid users can get from the web. So far, the Free Basics service includes access to Facebook, Wikipedia, and a few other sites.
“The problem runs deeper than simply which sites to which poor users should have subsidized access. It lies in the very concept that Facebook and its corporate partners, or governments, should be able to privilege one service or site above another.” They said in a statement on the subject.
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