The TRAI deadline for submission of public responses, regarding the heated Free Basics debate, has finally passed. The wait is now on for the Telecom Regulatory Authority to come up with a set of recommendations, which will see the fate of Facebook's Free Basics platform in India. TRAI is expected to come out with these recommendations by the end of this January. The deadline for submitting counter comments on the paper floated by TRAI is January 14, post which the regulatory body will publish a list of all comments on their website.
TRAI seems to have its task cut out, because the regulator had to dismiss over 14 lakh comments from Facebook users as irrelevant. TRAI had asked users to answer four specific questions regarding diffrential pricing on the internet. Now, as reported by ET, TRAI Chairman RS Sharma has said that many of the responses did not answer the questions specifically and those will be put up in a separate category called "irrelevant comments." Although many numbers are doing the rounds on the internet, no official figures regarding TRAI's poll have been released. If a study by LocalCircle is to be believed, majority of the 30,000 sample audience it surveyed, has voted against Facebook's Free Basics platform in India. Facebook's Free Basics campaign has generated a lot of heat in the past few weeks, but as the deadline for comments on TRAI's consultation paper comes to an end, the buzz around the issue seems a little diffused. Although, there are still certain organisations like savetheinternet.in and The Free Software Movement of India, that are constantly campaigning vigrously against Facebook's plan of providing free but limited internet services in India. These groups are of the view that Free Basics violates the principles of Net Neutrality and will create a bias in the internet.
At Digit, we took to the streets of the capital, in search of some opinions from the locals about what they thought of Facebook's Free Basics service in India. From the people we spoke with, it is evident that a lot of confusion still persists regarding what Facebook's Free Basics platform is all about. You can watch our video below.
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