Free Basic Internet
There are certain basic services which are needed by every society. These services can be water, cleanliness.etc. As we all know, the Internet has become a necessity now. This necessity is common for any society today and considering this fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg introduced the concept of free Internet to people who can’t afford it.
What is net neutrality?
The concept of net neutrality is simple, it says that all content which is available on the Internet is equal and all websites must be accessible to everyone. Also, once you have paid for any internet plan, you should be able to access anything. It doesn’t matter to which telecom operator you are paying, but everyone should get the same Internet speed.
So what net neutrality has to do with Internet.org?
Internet.org offers free access to users with some partnering platforms. So this basically means that Internet.org is a project which will get people on Facebook. Internet.org will only allow basic services to be accessed for free and this itself contradicts the concept of net neutrality. If you are using the Internet, then you should be able to use like any other person without any restrictions.
Facebook changed the branding of Internet.org to Free basics as now it explains the concept of having the free basic Internet services.
Why there is a ban on Free Basic Service in India?
The Free Basics application is banned in India by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, popularly known as TRAI. The matter is quite highlighted in the media and has been under intense discussions. The TRAI also published a white paper on mobile data pricing in the month of December. Vigorous debates were conducted which included advocacy groups of India and the world on this matter.
The first conclusion of TRAI was that “No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content”. They mean no “zero rating” plans. TRAI only offers exceptions in emergency situations and crisis.
Action and reaction
Mark Zuckerburg responded to this by a lengthy Facebook post. He seemed disappointed but is still trying to provide free Internet to those who are deprived of it in India. According to him, Internet.org has been able to connect more than 19 million people from 38 countries around the world.
India has been considered as a critical sector for Internet.org. Not only because India has numerous Internet users and many are still deprived of it, but Internet.org was being considered as a good business sector as well. This will not only affect the local sector but will also affect worldwide. Free Internet also means good marketing.
Free basic service is actually a good approach for people who are poor or are deprived of the Internet. But then what about net neutrality? We don’t know the final outcome yet, but currently, there is no Free Basic Internet service in India. So, people who are waiting for free internet service, you guys will have to wait some more. How long? Well, till the government doesn’t sort out the matter completely!