Free Basics ain’t free anymore

By: Amol Parth
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Bengaluru, Feb 11: In a major setback to Mark Zuckerberg's plan to "break down barriers to connectivity in India", his ambitious project ‘Free Basics' will not be free anymore in India.

Following TRAI's rejection of differential data pricing, Facebook's India partner for ‘Free Basics' Reliance Communications has decided to make it a paid platform.

Mark Zuckerberg

TOI quoted a spokesperson for the Anil Ambani-owned RCoM as saying,

"To be fully compliant with the new regulations announced by Trai, RCom has already begun the process of reconfiguring access to Free Basics, from the current free regime to a chargeable one, as per the existing data plans of our customers."

Responding to TRAI's verdict, Zuckerberg has said,

"Connecting India is an important goal we won't give up on, because more than a billion people in India don't have access to the Internet."

Writing in the Quartz, Om Malik explains what do the British Raj and Facebook Free Basics have in common:

"Facebook Free Basics isn't a charity. It is a way for Facebook to gather more attention and sell services and advertising to those who get Facebook's Free Basics."

Free Basics has been at the centre of Net Neutrality debate in India lately.

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