TRAI controller offshores FB’s Free Basics in India
25th May 2016Category : Social MediaPublished by :Rahul Verma Reading Time : 3 Minute News Sourced : India
In a key decision by Telecom Regulatory Authority of
India (TRAI), supporting net neutrality, barred operators from charging
different rates for internet access based on content, setback to
Facebook’s‘Free Basics’ and ‘Airtel
Trai directed telecom companies to abide with
regulator otherwise stricter action and existing penalty provisions are decided
to handle them. "It's not like that, that you can violate and continue
paying penalty," Trai Chairman R S Sharma said.
The regulator paving the way for ‘net freedom’ in
India issued a new set of norms barring discriminatory prices for data
services. It also provides for Rs 50,000 per day penalty on violating
The controller blow out Facebook’s hot cake Internet.org’s
initiatives, Free Basics. Mark Zukerberg expressed distress over telecom
regulator TRAI’s decision. “While we’re disappointed with the decision, I want
to personally communicate that we are committed to keep working to break down
barriers to connectivity in India and around the world. Internet.org has many
initiatives, and we will keep working until everyone has access to the Internet”
- in a Facebook post.
Zukerberg also expressed not to give up on breaking
down connectivity barriers in India, which he described as an important goal
for his company.
Facebook’s Free Basics plan came in from major
criticism from experts who alleged that it curbed one’s freedom to access the
internet of their choice.
More than 19 million people in 38 countries have
been connected through Facebook’s different initiatives.
“That’s why we launched Internet.org with so many
different initiatives—including extending networks through solar—powered
planes, satellites and lasers, providing free data access through Free Basics,
reducing data use through apps, and empowering local entrepreneurs through
Express Wi—Fi,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Sharma said that operators can charge different
rates at different time occasionally to better utilise their network but cannot
charge different rates based on the content that they access using Internet.
"Net neutrality as we understand constitutes
number of components which are not purely tariff. We were dealing with some
aspect of net neutrality from the tariff perspective. That's what we have come
out with because it is in our domain. There are many areas which are not in the
domain of Trai," Sharma added.
Facebook’s Marc Andreessen floated fiery comment on
decision-- terming India's decision to bar discriminatory Internet tariff as an
"anti-colonialist" idea and said the country would have been better
off if it remained under British rule.
To the comments, brewing sharp criticism, some
netizens call Facebook's Free Basics plan as Internet colonialism.
Facing censure, Andreessen removed the tweet. Later,
he attempted to walk away from the discussion he fired up saying "I hereby
withdraw from all future discussions of Indian economics or politics. Carry