Days after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) barred telecom operators from charging different rates for Internet access based on content, the US based Facebook has decided to pull their controversial project ‘Free Basics’ out of India.
The news was broken via a email statement that said:
“Free Basics is no longer available to people in India.”
For the past many months, Facebook has been facing a backlash within India with many advocating that their project is against “net neutrality” because it only allowed access to selected websites across the web and thus violates the unsaid principle that the entire Internet portal should be accessible to everyone and that too on equal terms.
The Free Basics then started within India via RCom few months back, but was soon pulled out after TRAI ordered its closure till the final verdict was given on the case.
On February 8, 2016 , TRAI Chairman Ram Sewak Sharma held a press conference in this regard and said:
“Today we have come out with a regulation that essentially mandates no service provider shall charge differential pricing on basis of application, platforms, websites, or source. No ISP can enter into any arrangements based on discriminatory pricing.”
Soon after the verdict was given Facebook CEO Mark Zukerberg had reacted on his social media profile, stating that he was disappointed with the verdict.
He had then gone on to add:
“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.”