Net Neutrality: Facebook kills Free Basics in India

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, 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.

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6 Comments on "Net Neutrality: Facebook kills Free Basics in India"


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February 12, 2016 10:11 pm 10:11 PM

Yoyo Hats off Trai.Great Job.This is a big big big blow for Facebook.Long live the power of common people 🙂

February 12, 2016 5:00 pm 5:00 PM

Lol, not a single comment before this! Just goes to show how much people hated Free Basics.

Kiran Fernandes
February 12, 2016 5:09 pm 5:09 PM

free basics was meant to help the poor people of india, but everyone thinks its going against net neutrality because they have just a certain number of sites to access. According to basics, anyone can add their site, and there is no discrimination. And the reason why TRAI hates it is because its free.

February 12, 2016 9:15 pm 9:15 PM

without enable data you cant use Free Basic FB. Then how its free? Even Reliance not allowing to access free Basic without Rs.2 balance. Once you on data, other apps will eat ur main balance. better put data pack and access FB full version because free FB service you cant access full FB means photos you cant see.

February 12, 2016 7:47 pm 7:47 PM
Freebasic was not free. One has to subscribe to enable the data in a smartphone and just by enabling the data, other background services (contact & other syncs and app update at least the play store is updated even if one has not chosen to automatic updates) will start consuming the data which is not free. If the user has not subscribed to any data plan, his main balance will be deducted and it could be something like Rs. 200-500 if data is on for half an hour. On the other hand if the user has already subscribed to any… Read more »
February 12, 2016 9:49 pm 9:49 PM

Absolutely right.Try accessing free basic at 0 balance,you will see that nothing is happening.So it could have made poor people poorer.