Free Basics controversy refuels Net Neutrality outrage

Free Basics is garnering a lot of feedback, owing to wide appeals by Facebook. TRAI's second net neutrality paper received about 5,40,000 comments already.

Published Date
21 - Dec - 2015
| Last Updated
22 - Dec - 2015
Free Basics controversy refuels Net Neutrality outrage

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has received six lac comments approximately, on its consultation paper over 'Differential Pricing for Data Services'. This is one of the issues that comes under net neutrality principles. Sources told PTI, "Till Thursday, Trai received about 5,40,000 comments. These comments have suddenly come and mostly around Facebook's Free Basics service. Today comments would have crossed six lakh."

Facebook launched a campaign to save its Free Basics platform from being banned in India. The campaign asks users to send an email to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stating support for the platform. Facebook claims, "Free Basics is a first step in connecting 1 billion Indians to the opportunities online, and achieving digital equality in India. But without your support, it could be banned in a matter of weeks." It defended the platform by saying that it offers important services to users without any data charges, and is aimed at people who are unable to pay for data – open to all people, developers and bloggers. Facebook also mentioned Free Basics’ critics, stating that they are demanding everyone to pay equally for all Internet services, rather than providing basic services to certain users for free.

We were in touch with Facebook on December 16, who stated the following, “Hundreds of millions of people in India use the Internet every day and understand the benefits it can bring. This campaign's goal is to give these people the opportunity to support digital equality in India and help connect the billion who remain offline by giving them a voice in the public debate that is being held by The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on differential pricing for data services.”

Free Basics and Net Neutrality have sparked a lot of debate in India and there are those that support it, and even more that oppose it. But, do we really need Net Neutrality in India? You may want to read this before you pass judgement!

Source: PTI

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