TRAI puts Facebook’s Free Basics service on hold

TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has ordered Reliance Communications to put Free Basics service on hold temporarily.

As reported by Times of India, a senior government official said,

We have asked them (Reliance Communications) to stop it and they have given us a compliance report that it has been stopped.

But the service is still up and running for users in the country according to Times of India.

Facebook’s Internet.org – now know as Free Basics has been under a lot of controversy in the country. According to the critics, the service violates net neutrality guidelines since Free Basics service restrict content. It is against net neutrality guidelines which promote access to all content available on the internet.

Free Basics service, which allows its subscribers to use basic internet services for free became available to everyone in India in November this year. The service offers basic education, jobs, and communication tools to its subscribers.

In relation to that, Mark Zuckerberg visited India in last October discussing concerns with regard to its Free Basics service. Defending the service, he said,

You cannot have full internet for free, just the basic services. Most people pushing for net neutrality already have access to the Internet, we have a moral responsibility to those who don’t have access to Internet.

He added that the project can help millions of people with their education, health, and businesses – helping them achieve more with the power of basic internet.

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