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India’s Regulator Effectively Bans Facebook’s Free Basics Service

Net neutrality as principle argues that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, without favoring or blocking particular websites. “Facebook Inc.’s efforts to expand Internet access in the developing world suffered a blow Monday when India’s telecommunications regulator ruled that the social-media company’s plan to offer free access to a limited number of websites undercut the purpose of the Internet,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The regulator said Facebook’s Free Basics service violated the principles of net neutrality, which call for equal treatment of all traffic on the Internet.” Facebook offers Free Basics to 40 countries through mobile phone services, with the goal of promoting internet use in the developing world, but the chair of India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority said that differential pricing does not aid consumers or internet growth. Telecom firms provide the free service hoping that customers will pay for expanded internet use. Other countries may review the arrangements. Activists contended that Facebook should not be the gatekeeper for deciding basics for the public. Facebook officials said they are open to allowing an independent board to approve content. – YaleGlobal

India’s Regulator Effectively Bans Facebook’s Free Basics Service

Reliance Communications, Facebook’s partner in India, can no longer offer Free Basics, the social networking company’s service that provides free internet
Sean McLain, Joanna Sugden and Deepa Seetharaman
The Wall Street Journal, 10 February 2016
Read the article from The Wall Street Journal.


Staff reporter Sean McLain covers India Inc. from the Wall Street Journal's Delhi bureau.  Joanna Sugden is the editor of India Real Time, The Wall Street Journal's online journal about India.   Deepa Seetharaman covers Facebook, LinkedIn and other technology companies for WSJD, The Wall Street Journal's global technology bureau. She previously worked for Reuters, most recently covering e-commerce, including companies such as Amazon and eBay, in San Francisco as well as the US auto industry in Detroit.

Read about net neutrality from PublicKnowledge.org.

Read about Free Basics.

Source:The Wall Street Journal
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