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India blocks Facebook's Free Basics Internet service

By Shawn Knight
Feb 8, 2016
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  1. Bringing the rest of the world online is proving to be tougher than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg likely bargained for. Telecom regulators in India have banned the social network's Free Basic service as part of a larger ruling in favor of net neutrality.

    That realization isn't entirely surprising as some in India have resisted the initiative for nearly a year now.

    The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ruled that no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content. Or in other words, it effectively bans the practice of zero-rating in which end-users aren't charged for using select applications or Internet services.

    Facebook's Free Basics is just that, a free service that offers access to select news and health sites, Wikipedia and of course, Facebook itself.

    Regulators argue that such programs favor select services over others and that under net neutrality, all online services should be treated equally. Facebook, meanwhile, maintains that the goal of Free Basics is to bring more people online with an open, non-exclusive and free platform.

    Zuckerberg and company are no doubt disappointed by the development but it's not the end of the road for Free Basics. The service is currently available in 36 countries around the globe, helping to bring Internet access to more than 19 million people thatFacebook says wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to get online.

    Lead image courtesy Manjunath Kiran, Getty Images

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,475   +2,034

    What the hell is that Indian legislature talking about? Did they listen to what they said?
    Apparently their definition of 'freedom of speech and democracy' differs wildly from what one would expect to see in the Oxford Dictionary.
     
  3. ara42

    ara42 TS Rookie

    IMO, the important reasoning in the regulation is, as follows,

    "15. The appropriate regulatory response on the issue of differential pricing must necessarily be grounded in a sound understanding of the basic architecture of the internet. Any proposed changes in business models and commercial practices must also be seen in the context of the need to preserve the unique architecture of the Internet as a global communication network.The following are some of the key relevant features that form its structural underpinnings:"

    For further reading, you can find the regulation at http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/WhatsNew/Documents/Regulation_Data_Service.pdf
     
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,549   +2,894

    I can understand the deli-ma.

    Offering select services, even if free still goes against the concept of Net Neutrality. It seems the only option for offering free internet and keeping Net Neutrality would be in heavy throttling.
     
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,673   +1,874

    Are you sure you didn't mean, "I understand the New Deli-ma"?
     

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