Many of you must be getting a notification on your Facebook profile, saying someone and 5 others have sent messages to TRAI about Free Basics. Send your own message.
Free Basic is nothing but a disguised version of internet.org and Facebook has been pushing Internet.org also known as Free Basics (which is the opposite of free) with a lot of belligerence. Recently, Tim Berners-Lee, who is a computer scientist and creator of the World Wide Web, came down hard on Facebook’s internet.org/Free Basics, as it violates the principles of Net Neutrality.
India’s Telecoms regulator has asked the mobile network (Reliance) that has partnered with Facebook to put their Free Basics offer on hold.
Critics of the Free Basics service says it runs contrary to the principle of Net Neutrality, which suggests data providers should not favor some online services over others by offering cheaper or faster access.
Reliance Communication has reportedly confirmed it would comply with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s demand.
As told to BBC ”As directed by TRAI, the commercial launch of Free Basics has been kept in abeyance, until they consider all details and convey a specific approval”
However Times of India quoted a source that confirmed the decision was indeed related to the net neutrality controversy.
“The question has arisen whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content,” they said.
“Unless the question is answered, it will not be appropriate for us to continue to make that happen”
Facebook meanwhile has been paying at large adverts in local press to defend its scheme and said would continue to lobby Free Basics.
internet.org which provides access to selected services, was renamed as Free Basics earlier this year. Content includes pages from selected local news and weather forecast providers, the BBC, Wikipedia and various health services.
It is offered in 36 countries and Facebook believes more than 15 million people have been able to connect who otherwise would not be using the net.
So, what does Facebook do? It circumvents the issue and ensures that it does not state the all the facts about Free Basics. They are asking users to send an e-mail to the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI) with your name and other details. The content of the email will be as follows: “To, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, I support digital equality for India. Free Basics provides free access to essential internet services like communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and more. It helps those who can’t afford to pay for data, or who need a little help getting started online. And it’s open to all people, developers and mobile operators. With one billion Indian people not yet connected, shutting down Free Basics would hurt our country’s most vulnerable people. I support Free Basics — and digital equality for India. Thank you.”
Facebook is just trying to play on the fact that most of us click the like button on its platform without reading or understanding the complete picture. It has become second nature to us to like any picture or debate trending on Facebook without knowing the complete facts or just because many of our friends or relatives have done so.
Hence before supporting something that Facebook tells you that your friend has done, make sure you know what are you supporting.
Are you in Support of Net Neutrality?
If you send out this e-mail to TRAI then you are against Net Neutrality and would support Internet.org and Free Basics.