The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has asked Reliance Communications (RCom) to put Facebook’s Free Basics service on hold, according to a report by The Times of India. Reliance Communications is the only telecom partner to offer a basic set of internet services free to its subscribers in India.
The report quotes a senior government official as saying, “We have asked them (Reliance Communications) to stop it and they have given us a compliance report that it has been stopped.” Free Basics, which was earlier known as Internet.org, has been criticised heavily in India as being against net neutrality.
The report points out that a source quoted in reference to the Free Basics platform stated, “The question has arisen whether a telecom operator should be allowed to have differential pricing for different kinds of content. Unless that question is answered, it will not be appropriate for us to continue to make that happen.”
Facebook also wants you to act now and save the ‘free’ internet. It’s interesting how the debate to protect net neutrality began with activists setting up a website (savetheinternet.in). And now Facebook is taking the same route, but countering the net neutrality camp by influencing its user base to send emails to Trai that renders their support for Free Basics in India.