There is a rather vociferous debate in India around the interpretation of net-neutrality. And it all started after popular social networking company Facebook rolled out a massive campaign across media, urging people to support its Free Basics platform. The company’s marketing spiel included full page advertisements in almost all major national and regional newspapers in India, as well as prompts on Facebook asking users to sign in support.
Formerly known as Internet.org, Free Basics “provides free access to basic internet services to a billion people all over the world”. In other words, Free Basics is positioned as an app for the developing countries and allows people, who may otherwise find a typical 2G/3G/4G data plan a tad too expensive, to access some Internet services at no cost—news, weather, travel and even health, education and public service information. But after all the outrage on social media, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has put Free Basics on hold. The next step will be announced in January 2016.