Times of India — Social networking giant Facebook has taken another step in expanding the reach of its Internet.org, now called Free Basics, platform in India. In a post on Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We just took another step towards connecting India. As of today, everyone in India nationwide can access free internet services for health, education, jobs and communication through Internet.org’s Free Basics app on the Reliance network.”
Times of India — At his first townhall event in India, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is committed to net neutrality, but lent his support for zero-rating plans, which violate the principles of free internet. When asked if Facebook supports net neutrality, Zuckerberg said, “Absolutely. We do a lot to support net neutrality. In terms of regulation, countries are figuring out what rules they want and we are supportive of that.”
Tech in Asia — Facebook tried to bring “free” internet to India several months ago and was shot down for its violation of net neutrality. Internet.org was seen as the company’s way of endorsing specific sites for those who were signed up for the scheme. Essentially, critics explained, Internet.org would turn the internet into a series of subscription-based channels and the grand, utopian vision that the 21st century held for the possibilities of the world wide web would be gone.
Times of India — WASHINGTON: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will hold a Townhall Question and Answer session at IIT-Delhi later this month to connect with Indians, whom he described as “one of our most active and engaged communities” on the social media.
Times of India — MUMBAI: As a debate rages on about the net neutrality and the role of Facebook’s Internet.org platform, the social networking giant’s Indian partner for this programme Reliance Communications (RCom) said it has brought on board one million Indians to experience internet. “We piloted this for six months in seven circles. And in six months, I am happy to share with you, we brought nearly one million people to come on the internet and experience the internet,” Reliance Communications’ consumer business CEO Gurdeep Singh told the company shareholders here.
Times of India — NEW DELHI: Opposing zero-rated plans of any type, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said such plans will harm online content and also allow telcos to discriminate certain web services over others. In its submissions to a Department of Telecom (DoT) report on net neutrality last week, IAMAI said it clearly and unambiguously opposed zero-rated plans of any type. Thursday was the last date to submit comments on the DoT report.
Times of India — NEW DELHI: There is widespread support for net neutrality on the government’s citizen engagement platform mygov.in where a majority of people have voiced their concerns against zero-rated plans. There are nearly 70,000 comments on the website with just a day to go before the end of the participative process and most of these seek unfettered and non-discriminatory access to the internet.
Times of India — NEW DELHI: Facebook is mustering support of its users in India to defend its platform Internet.org, with just a week left for public comments on a DoT panel’s report, which says free internet services like that of the social network’s violate net neutrality principle. Facebook has started the public campaign to make a case before lawmakers for allowing free internet access platforms like Internet.org.
Times of India — NEW DELHI: The government today reiterated its commitment to provide non-discriminatory access to internet for all in the country and stick to the ‘fundamental principles’ of net neutrality. “Government is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality and strives for non- discriminatory access to internet for all citizens of the country,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written statement to the Rajya Sabha.
Times of India — NEW DELHI: Zero-rating platforms, which offer free browsing to consumers on select websites that have paid for it, have to be open to mobile subscribers of all telecom companies, a member of the government-appointed committee on net neutrality has said. V Umashankar, a key member of the six-member panel, has also said that Bharti Airtel’s ‘Zero’ plan “completely violates” the principles of net neutrality.
Mark Zuckerberg’s bid to connect the unconnected via Internet.org is already facing its first major roadblock – not from cellcos, but from internet companies and activist groups who claim Internet.org’s business model violates net neutrality principles and creates a walled garden of content for poor people rather than the “real” internet. The latest flashpoint is India, where Internet.org has partnered with Reliance and Bharti Airtel to offer free internet access to specific apps for free, with the data usage subsidized by apps developers.
Facebook, in collaboration with local partner Telenor, announced today that Internet.org is available for users in Pakistan. The initiative is part of a campaign to make the internet accessible and affordable to the two-thirds of the world that remain offline. Mobile users from Pakistan will now have free access to an array of services, including health, education, finance, news, and jobs. Some of the sites included in the initiative are ESPN Cricinfo, BBC,Accuweather, OLX, and UNICEF Facts for Life.
DELHI| BENGALURU: Google has put on hold plans to provide free data to end users in India by zero rating certain apps, due to recent public backlash against a similar initiative by Facebook and Airtel, two people familiar with the development said. The internet giant, which was in early discussions with telecom operators and applications developers to launch a zero rating platform, has now decided to take a wait and watch approach, they said. “Google has shelved the idea of any kind of zero-rating tie-up because they are very scared of the backlash which came up against (Facebook’s) Internet.org in India,” said one of them.
NEW DELHI: Airtel’s Zero Rating platform and the Facebook-Reliance Communications combine’s internet.org plan have been found to be against the spirit of net neutrality by a preliminary inquiry conducted by the telecom ministry. The findings assume significance as they come at a time when a high-level committee of the ministry is finalizing a regulatory set-up for various issues related to net neutrality. Also, the committee will define how telecom operators are to deal with numerous internet websites, or over-the-top (OTT) players, who ride on their network.
NEW DELHI: Facebook’s billionaire co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is pulling all stops to swing opinion in India in favour of Internet.org, even as he explores alternatives to subsidize access to certain internet services including Facebook. Zuckerberg in recent weeks initiated dialogues with key people in India’s startup and technology world to convince them of the virtue of Internet.org, a partnership stitched by the social networking giant that allows certain services including Facebook to be provided free of data charge to users.
NEW DELHI: In another bid to promote its Internet.org platform in India, social networking titan Facebook is running a campaign – on users’ timelines. The new campaign, started earlier this week, aims to make the social network’s users believe that the Internet.org platform is actually ‘free internet.’ However, Internet.org has been widely panned as being against the principles of net neutrality as it allows users to access only websites that have signed up for the platform, while blocking access to those that did not join the Facebook initiative.
NEW DELHI: National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), a body under the IT Ministry, today said it strongly supports Net Neutrality and any move by telecom operators to selectively bundle the services will go against the basic concept of internet. NIXI coordinates with internet service providers on issues related to IP or computer addresses. “National Internet Exchange of India as the neutral exchange in the country, strongly supports Neutrality of the internet which is the only way forward to make the Internet open, free and innovative. “Any move by Telcos to bundle application or content selectively will hamper the very basic concept of internet,” NIXI said in a statement.
NEW DELHI: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry body comprising GSM operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, is running a rather confusing campaign on net neutrality. Though the campaign claims to be in favour of net neutrality, it also mixes in elements of zero rating. This campaign comes just days after COAI voiced its support for net neutrality in India. A SMS (across various networks) reportedly received by several people says “COAI supports #SabkaInternet. I believe that I should have a right to choose what I access on the internet. To support, give a missed call to 1800 270 6899.”
Internet.org, the app initiated by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg that allows people to access certain online content for free, launched in Indonesia just a few days ago in partnership with Indosat. So far it seems as if Internet.org has had a smooth start in Indonesia, and is not struggling with the huge backlash it’s getting in India. In India, some media outlets and internet firms that had initially been part of the Internet.org initiative decided to step out due to concerns about violating net neutrality with the app’s limited, curated selection of accessible sites.
On April 17, through a Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg declared to the world that Facebook’s Internet.org app is now available in Indonesia, in collaboration with mobile phone carrier Indosat. Internet.org is an app which offers a suite of useful services – including Facebook – to users without charging for data transfer. In India, the app has caused some controversy. A number of members of India’s startup community, including investors and founders, came out against the initiative.