Wednesday, 30 December 2015

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What is Free Basics?

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1. What is Free Basics?
Internet.org was rechristened Free Basics in September, just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Facebook's headquarters at founder Mark Zuckerberg's invitation. According to Facebook, it is an open platform that gives Indian developers the opportunity to make their services and websites available free of cost to those who cannot afford internet access. However, this free access is limited to partner websites and applications. It was launched two years ago globally in partnership with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm.

2. What's the problem, then? It sounds like a good initiative…
Yes, definitely. But the problem is that, contrary to what it claims, it doesn't offer equal and unbiased access to all services. Facebook is partnering with ISPs to provide preferential and selective access to a set of app developers and services. This is the main criticism of those opposed to Free Basics; they argue that the internet should be free and equal for all users. This is also the cornerstone of net neutrality.

3. What's net neutrality?
Net neutrality means access to free and unbiased internet for all. To put it in simple terms, anyone from anywhere around the world should be able to access or provide services and content on the internet without any discrimination.


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