Social networking major Facebook has finally discontinued its controversial Free Basics from India following the Trai’s recent regulation that barred discriminatory pricing of data services. The regulation also put a ban on zero-rated products in the country.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the development, and said that Free Basics is no longer available to people in India. Facebook positioned zero-rated Free Basics, earlier known as internet.org, as the platform to connect the unconnected billions globally. However, it was heavily criticised due to its walled garden approach of allowing only selected websites or apps, thus violating the concept of net neutrality.
According to media reports, Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications, which was the only distributor of Free Basics in India, had decided to Free Basics platform a paid platform, following the Trai regulation barring discriminatory pricing of data services.
RCom had previously said that its subscribers will have to pay applicable data charges for accessing websites or apps through the Free Basics platform, once necessary technical modifications are done over the next few days. It was earlier asked by the Indian telecom regulator to keep the service in abeyance till the regulator cleared it.