India blocks Facebook Free Basics internet scheme, fine for violators

In a very significant move, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has now banned the differential pricing for different kinds of data and sites which is considered as a big threat to the concept of net neutrality among internet activists. As TRAI has taken this decision, zero-rating initiatives like Facebook’s Free Basics platform will not be kick started in our country.

Through programs like Free Basic’s Facebook aimed to offer a minuscule set of services for absolutely no cost. Mark Zuckerberg’s company has even talked and found a deal with Reliance to implement this program in our country. Earlier, TRAI has called the campaign moves of Facebook as crudely majoritarian and orchestrated opinion poll.

In a recently issued statement Telecom Regulatory Authority of India made it clear that allowing service providers to define the access of Internet will create adverse impacts in a user’s browsing experience.

From now, charging discriminatory tariff based on the content will fetch a fine of Rs 50,000 ($735) per day from violators.

TRAI has asked Reliance to put the project on hold unless the authority evaluates all the details and terms and conditions of the service.

TRAI has also given permission for service providers to reduce tariff for accessing or providing emergency services. It should be noted that TRAI has the rights to review these regulations after a period of two years.

Internet activists all over the nation consider programs like Free Basics as a threat to the principle of Net neutrality. If Free Basics becomes a reality, then it will restrict the usage of free and Open Internet.

To implement Free Basics, Facebook tried their level best with the help of various advertising campaigns. To combat these moves, Internet activists kick started volunteer-led coalition called Save the Internet, and finally, they have tasted success in this virtual battle.

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About the author

Ashlyn Fernandes

Ashlyn holds a degree in Journalism and has a background in digital media. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the editorial team, coordinating with writers, and ensuring timely publications. Ashlyn's keen eye for detail and organizational skills make her an invaluable asset to the team. She is also a certified yoga instructor and enjoys hiking on weekends.

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