Internet.org Is Now FreeBasics But Why?

net neutralityFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now considering a change in name for the controversial internet.org platform. Now being called Free Basics, it is meant to provide web access to more people by offering it free of cost. Free Basics will also allow these new users to enjoy complimentary services from around 250 partners.

Supported by leading mobile phone manufacturing companies like Nokia and Samsung, this free internet service from Facebook aims to connect around 4.4 billion people who are yet to be introduced to the online world.


Who will benefit? 

Eventually, Free Basics aims to connect areas that don’t have internet connectivity. This will be done using drones and laser technology. But currently, the platform aims to bring low network areas such as 2G networks under the Free Basics bandwagon. 

People living in India and other developing nations are going to benefit from the service. Surveys indicate that people living in remote areas will receive better guidance for pregnancy care, parenting, education and even farming using free internet services. 

Read more about the debate: The Net Neutrality Debate: Larger Than You Thought

What is the catch?

The concept of Free Basics is in direct contrast with the concept of net neutrality that smaller players and the advocates of internet are against. Subscribing to Free Basics implies only players who pay the provider will be accessible to users.

Ever since the internet has penetrated Indian households, it has given opportunity to entrepreneurs to expand and innovate. When they will have to start paying to be seen and heard on the internet, the market will only be available for the giants in every vertical.

For the end user, this means they will not have access to the new players. They would have restricted access to news, information and e-commerce.

 

When the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi met Mark Zuckerberg, this issue has been brought to light once again. … Read the rest

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Net Neutrality: Facebook’s Internet.Org Expands In India

We can always bank on Facebook to work a miracle even while TRAI is trying to pack up net neutrality for once and all. Facebook has launched a platform, internet.org on Monday. This offers ground for developers to allow net access in growing niches and low income sectors in India.

Net Neutrality: Facebook's Internet.Org Expands In IndiaCurrently, developers are trying to gauge the regulations applicable for joining the same besides also understanding the kind of content considered apt for being featured here. The platform had earlier been launched in February this year in alliance with Reliance Communications. However, a large number of content creators and e-comm portals pulled out citing plausible violations of principle for net neutrality back then. The service is currently available in eight different countries besides India and is eyeing to bring in more than 8 million people online.

With the issues related to net neutrality taking on more severity in India, Chris Daniels, VP for product at Internet.org has expressed their involvement in understanding the main concerns involved. India ranks third in the list of highest internet surfer/users globally. This, Daniels opines that net neutrality does not negate the need to bring more people online. We believe internet.org is one app that will bridge these gaps soon.

also readWallet-Friendly Microsoft Lumia 435 Impresses With Bulky Battery, Sexy Styling And Functionality

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The Net Neutrality Debate: Larger Than You Thought

By Prajakt Raut

Sure, we are all in favor of Net Neutrality and agree that it needs to be maintained. However, like all big issues, this debate also has many aspects that need to be examined. Net Neutrality will help startups and entrepreneurs who want to get their software products out to consumers. However, much like DTH operators can charge a premium for some channels and keep some free, perhaps telcos too have a point when they argue that the way they monetize their packages is their right.

Preferential access will certainly be a challenge for startups. But it is like saying, ‘If newspaper ads were free, it will benefit startups as they would be able to market their products to consumers’. On the other hand, telcos complain of losing money. However, one wonders what stops them from raising prices of bandwidth.

@ Sign net neutrality in IndiaSo far, they have entered into a price war as an industry, something no one has forced them to. As a private operator, they have every right to increase the price of bandwith and no one should have any argument against that. The market forces will then determine what price who wants to operate at. There could be premium service providers, and there could be service providers who offer cheaper bandwidth. Let the consumer decide.

Overall, in the interest of fostering entrepreneurship, keeping the net neutral should be supported by telcos too. Given the backlash, it will be prudent if they accept this argument. The concept needs to be addressed at a policy level by taking all sides into consideration.

Prajakt is co-founder of The Hub for Startups and ApplyifiRead the rest

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Flipkart Says No To Airtel Zero; Supports Net Neutrality

flipkart backs out of airtel zero for net neutralityFollowing the social media stir on Net Neutrality over the last few days and 3 lakh emails being sent out to TRAI, Flipkart announced today that they have pulled out of the Airtel Zero platform.

In an official statement, Flipkart said that they are walking away from the on-going discussions with Airtel for the Airtel Zero platform. The statement also added that they commit themselves to the larger cause of Net Neutrality in India.

This has come following the massive debate about Net Neutrality that has been haunting Indian online space for the last few days. All India Bakchod also launched a video to Save The Internet claiming that the internet means all content in equal and it should be the choice of the user, what content it is that they want to see.

Flipkart was in the heat of the debate because of their discussions with Airtel. After 1.5 lakh emails were sent to TRAI yesterday, the issue has come to the forefront and Net Neutrality has become a much discussed issue. Flipkart app was also voted down on app stores yesterday.

 … Read the rest

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