Net Neutrality Advocates Oppose Zuckerberg’s Free Basics Plan

Net Neutrality Advocates Oppose Zuckerberg’s Free Basics Plan

An appeal was made by Mark Zuckerberg, Chairman of Facebook, in Times of India newspaper to provide free internet service for accessing some basic sites in India. The proposal has initiated a controversy from net neutrality activists and several queries from regulators. The Free Basics plan recommended by Zuckerberg will allow free accessibility from handsets to Facebook and other basic portals for education, health care and employment listings.

This proposal will not require an active internet plans on the phone. However, the proposal poses danger to the net neutrality principle, which promotes equal access to all websites, and will initiate varied pricing for different websites in the country. Mark’s plan is being opposed by several critics for excluding rival portals and favoring only a few. Critics are viewing his proposal as an attempt to increase the social networking site’s users.

However, the billionaire co-founder debated that no monetary benefits will be gained by the company through this proposal and the final aim of the plan is to provide accessibility to internet in developing nations and to ease poverty. “Everyone also deserves access to the tools and information that can help them to achieve all those other public services, and all their fundamental social and economic rights. That’s why everyone also deserves access to free basic Internet services,” said Zuckerberg.

In addition, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has rerleased a ‘consultation paper’, until December 30, 2015, to gather opinion on allowing varied pricing for using websites, applications and platforms.

techcrunch reported that, The subject of contention is Free Basics, Facebook and Internet.org‘s app that offers free data access but only to a limited section of the Internet. Free Basics is available in roughly 35 countries through Facebook’s partnerships with mobile carriers who see it as a way to persuade people to buy data plans.

But Facebook’s control over the technical guidelines for what qualifies for free access and its ability to highlight its own services have sparked on-going backlash from net neutrality advocates.

tribune report said, Zuckerberg’s personal appeal comes amid fierce criticism from net neutrality activists who say his plan violates the principle that the whole Internet should be available to all and unrestricted by any one company.

Earlier this month the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ordered Reliance Communications, the sole mobile operator for the service, to suspend it temporarily without giving a reason, documents seen by AFP show.

According to the bloomberg, Facebook Inc. Chairman Mark Zuckerberg made a personal appeal in one of India’s leading newspapers for the country to allow a free Internet service that has stirred controversy and invited questions from regulators.

Facebook’s proposed Free Basics plan allows customers to access the social network and other services such as education, health care, and employment listings from their phones without a data plan. Yet activists say the program threatens the principles of net neutrality and could change pricing in India for access to different websites.

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