The Social Networking Giant “Facebook’s” free Basics have been banned in India by National Telecoms Regulator and titled it as “Discriminatory Tariffs for data services” which is mainly known as Zero-Rating.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ccording to Facebook’s Free Basics, a user can access certain sites for free without utilizing the mobile data. Facebook Free Basics provides local news, weather forecasts, Wikipedia and access to Facebook absolutely free.
India Has Banned Facebook’s Free Basics
Experts maintain that zero rating is fully against the principles of net neutrality. Among which one principle is that all content on the Internet should be equally treated. In other words it is that, banning ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) from vending “Fast Lanes” to various companies that run online. On the other hand, it can lure customers to some extent because it is free to access after all. However, the reason behind its ban is that such schemes prevents the growing competition and strangles startups.
Reliance Communications partnered with Facebook in providing Free Basics, but however was asked to stop free basics by Telecom Regulator in last December. Facebook had spent millions on its free scheme and in Times of India Newspaper, Mark Zuckerberg had devoted personal comment on it. In Free Basics Advertisement, Zuckerberg compared Free Basics to a Public Library, recommending that its limited subscriptions are still helpful to the Country. Despite of such efforts, Facebook failed to get cover of Free Basics in India. The ban by India wasn’t solely for Facebook but to ban Free Basics from any organization. See below notice by Telecom Regulator :
“TSPs (telecom service providers) are prohibited from offering different tariffs based on the content, service, application or other data that a user is accessing or transmitting on the internet. Tariff for data services cannot vary on the basis of the website/ application/ platform or type of content being accessed. For example, a consumer cannot be charged differently based on whether she is browsing social media site A or B, or on whether she is watching streaming videos or shopping on the internet.”