GeneralFacebook responds to TRAI paper, says Free Basics is open to all

Facebook responds to TRAI paper, says Free Basics is open to all

Facebook has rallied against TRAI’s comments regarding zero-rating platforms, claiming that its Free Basics service is non-discriminatory and open to all developers. The app, previously known as, has been embroiled in controversy ever since its launch, with people debating whether it violates the principles of net neutrality.

While TRAI’s report, dubbed Consultation Paper on Differential Pricing for Data Services, acknowledges that platforms like Free Basics expand access to the internet by offering free access to sites, it said the telecom service providers (TSPs) had too much power over tariffs. The authority thinks network companies could use differential rates as a tool to discourage or encourage access to content.

Free Basics App

The TSPs may do this by raising or lowering the price of a service. The brand might even provide certain offerings at no cost and make accessing other content expensive, thus pushing customers to opt for the free ones. This approach clearly violates the tenants of net neutrality, which says no entity should be given an unfair advantage over others.

People have accused Facebook of doing just that, stating the social networking website was acting as a gatekeeper which ultimately decided what should be featured on Free Basics. The company has tried to change tactics since the criticism started pouring in, claiming the application was open to all developers who could meet its basic requirements.

Also Read: Facebook’s Free Basics now available across India via Reliance

In a statement to the media, Facebook VP of mobile and global access policy Kevin Martin said the company was committed towards working with TRAI to uphold the ideals behind net neutrality. He claims Free Basics has helped thousands of people get jobs and get access to healthcare information. It’s apparently helped bring more people online and acted as bridge to the paid internet.

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