Thursday, 14 January, 2016

Millions of Egyptians offline as Facebook cancels free internet service

IAMAI & Nasscom Against Differential Pricing; Operators Give It a Thumbs-up Millions of Egyptians offline as Facebook cancels free internet service
Elliot Roberts | 09 January, 2016, 01:48

The country is home to Facebook's second largest market outside the US Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has directed FB local partner Reliance Communication to halt the service pending further review. Because Free Basics does not charge different amounts of money for different web services and simply provides free access to certain websites, Zuckerberg claims that it's not violating open internet rules.

A Facebook Inc.-backed service that offered free, limited access to the Internet in Egypt has been shut down, a spokeswoman said.

The regulator has received around 12,000 messages other than template based comments.

The statement comes on amid the ongoing debate that started after Facebook's plan to launch Free Basics in India.

" about 14.34 lakh are such comments". The social networking giant contests the argument and says instead that its aim is to expand the reach of the internet for everyone and promote "digital equality". However, Sharma also said that though those who have sent comments about Free Basics could not be "considered", TRAI is writing back to those people to answer to its Paper's specific questions.

Any decision on differential pricing and zero rating made after the expiry of the deadline for submitting comments would impact Free Basics as well.

"Consultation papers are not opinion polls". We are asking why you think it is yes or no because that helps us in formulating the policy or guidelines.

The NGO, which has been co-petitioner in 2G spectrum allocation case of 2008, said that there may be some vested interests who are opposed to any move of providing anything free to the consumers. Since most of the responses did not answer the questions posed by the TRAI, these responses are of no use to the regulator.

The regulator has also received 3.81 lakh comments from people claiming to be supporters of net neutrality, such as, the volunteer-led group that mobilised over 1 million responses supporting net neutrality earlier in the year.

Free Basics is part of the initiative Facebook created to provide free Internet access to people around the world through programs like this, satellites, drones, and other delivery mechanisms that haven't yet been publicly revealed.