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Old 18th December 2015, 14:22   #331
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Originally Posted by phoenix7 View Post
Did any one of you notice that Facebook has now come up with a 'free basics program '...
We have been discussing it from post#323 in the same page.

Now it is in TOI too: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/t...w/50219009.cms
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Old 23rd December 2015, 14:35   #332
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We have been discussing it from post#323 in the same page.
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Sorry, my bad. I didnt notice it. But now facebook is showing high level of desperation by asking users in US and Canada to support Free Basics. This is not right as they have no relation to this issue in India . Though Facebook has said that this was a mistake and have taken it back but now the damage is done.

You can read more here. http://trak.in/tags/business/2015/12...g-free-basics/
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Old 30th December 2015, 11:54   #333
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From a whatsapp forward. Long read, but should be shared, especially for people who love agreeing with facebook propaganda :

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Facebook Is Misleading Indians With Its Full-Page Ads About Free Basics

Mahesh Murthy

Dec 29, 2015

Today it has ads around India saying “What net neutrality activists won’t tell you“.

I’m a net neutrality activist and I’m happy to tell you anything you’d like to know. In fact, we’re a small group, working unpaid, taking breaks from our regular jobs, and we’ve always been happy to tell you anything at all you wanted to know.

We don’t have a business axe to grind, we’re not working for Facebook’s rivals, and if anything, we’ve been part of Digital India far, far longer than Facebook has existed. We’re open to questioning.

Unlike Facebook, who tried to silently slime this thing through last year when it was called Internet.org, and then are spending about Rs. 100 crores on ads – a third of its India revenue? – to try and con us Indians this year again. This is after we’d worked hard to ban these kind of products, technically called “zero rating apps” last year. (Remember the million signature campaign last year? That was us.)

This Facebook ad spend doesn’t include the full-on Mark Zuckerberg love event put up for our Prime Minister when he visited the US, aimed again at greasing the way for this Free Basics thing through our government. (It worked. I think TRAI opened up this closed issue so Facebook could get another shot at pushing it through again.)

And the ad spend is above and beyond all the other ads and messages they’ve put on your timeline asking you to save “the free internet” etcetera that you may have even clicked on.



I’ll take on each of the 10 points that Facebook says that we don’t tell you about in a bit.

But first you should know why we’re making a fuss and going up against this billion dollar giant. What’s it all about?

Simply it’s this. Our airwaves and wireless spectrum belong to us, the citizens of India. The government of India temporary licenses this on our behalf to telcos under some terms and conditions, and those terms have always pushed for the development of all of India, including our poor.

In fact, India’s telecom policies so far have produced a minor miracle, with over a billion connections in our country changing and improving all our lives. The basis for this has always our policies which have forced our mobile operators to offer a full and open internet, accessible by anybody. Many poorer countries look to us for inspiration on how to do things right.

It is because of these policies that you probably are reading this on the mobile internet, maybe even on Facebook on your phone. But Facebook has been spending millions of dollars to change our policies.

Imagine now that there’s a new policy that could let a mobile company only offer you Facebook and nothing else on government spectrum? Not Google, not Naukri, not You Tube, no site you really need. But instead all you can have is Facebook, and a bunch of other teeny tiny sites, and that’s all you can ever use.

That’s what Facebook wants to offer the poor of India who can afford a phone but not a net connection on it. Given that data packages cost as little as Rs. 20 a month while phones cost Rs. 2,000 and up, we think their thesis itself is flawed, and they’re using it to justify a large internet user land grab, but let’s roll with it for a moment.



What Facebook wants is our less fortunate brothers and sisters should be able to poke each other and play Candy Crush, but not be able to look up a fact on Google, or learn something on Khan Academy or sell their produce on a commodity market or even search for a job on Naukri.
An analogy is this: people need a balanced diet of proteins, fat, carbs, vitamins and minerals and the government has a distribution system called Sahakari Bhandars to get these to us. Facebook wants to use our government system to sell only its branded cocaine and nothing else, on special shops, to people who can’t access any other shop. Something like that.



In their ads, they’ve been claiming they want to bring “digital equality” when they’re actually bringing digital slavery or digital apartheid to our poor.


Unlike the rest of us who are all digitally equal, being able to access the full and complete internet which has more than a billion sites on it, Facebook wants to offer our poor, our young and our future a few dozen sites, that’s all.

Internet.org was their earlier attempt at doing this. We’d pointed out even the name was a lie, as it was neither the internet that was offered, nor was it done on a non-profit basis that dot orgs typically use. So they’ve changed the name to Free Basics and have come back to try shove it down our throats again. Same poison, new bottle but with big ad campaign.



Here’s the gist of the tussle.
What we’re telling our government is this: On our airwaves, make sure that every mobile carrier in India offers every person in India the full internet and not just some small corner of it chosen by Facebook. That’s it. No special Facebook landgrab on government property, our wireless spectrum.

What Facebook is saying is this: allow the mobile companies using government-owned bandwidth to offer just Facebook and Facebook-chosen sites and nothing else, and let them grab the land or users they want.

Facebook says it is doing this out of some charitable aim to get more of India online. (As though spending a large portion of your India revenues on full page ads pushing a so-called charity is apparently charity.) Its obviously business.



We’ve responded saying “We love your idea of data for charity, but if you really mean to do charity then offer something that is the entire internet to people, not just your chosen sites. Like say 500mb a month free to every Indian”. They can, but no, they won’t do that. They want use our government’s bandwidth to get our poor using Facebook with no other real option in sight.

Now to counter the “10 clarifications about Facebook Free Basics” that we ‘activists’ have apparently hidden from you.
1. “Free Basics is open to any carrier.” Sure it is. We never said it wasn’t. Irrelevant point.

2. “We don’t charge anyone for Free Basics.” Sure we all know that. We never said they charged. Even more irrelevant.

3. “We don’t pay for the data consumed in Free Basics.” We don’t say they do. Misleading again. They don’t pay operators for the data to get free sign ups for Facebook – but they spend a huge sum of money (seen those Reliance Free Net ads?) on marketing that drives customers to these operators. Either way there’s a gain for the operator. Why pay in cash when you can pay in ads?

4. “Any developer can have their content on Free Basics.” Who said they can’t? But the big sites don’t. They don’t want Facebook to own their customers, and they don’t want Facebook to snoop on their customer data, because all traffic goes via Facebook servers.

Data is cheap enough in India and eventually everybody will be on the full and open internet, given time. Or our government could offer a neutral and free internet service to its citizens. There are other solutions to getting the poor online. Selling our people to Facebook doesn’t need to be one.

5. “Nearly 800 developers have signed their support for Free Basics.” We never said they didn’t. Many, many more haven’t. Still irrelevant.

6. “It is not a walled garden. 40% of our users go on to access the full internet within 30 days.” Which means 60% of their users are stuck in Facebook jail. Why should even one Indian citizen be? The internet should be open for all our people, or the net should be neutral as we say, especially on public property, which the wireless spectrum is.

7. “Free Basics is growing and popular in 36 countries, which have welcomed the program with open arms and seen enormous benefits.” This is a lie. This scam may have been pushed through in these poor, mostly helpless African nations who have no experience of anything better, like we have, and who have no ‘activists’ like us who tell their governments they’re raising a generation of deprived children with no access to the real internet.

Also, tellingly, the more online-progressive countries like Japan, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Netherlands have outright banned programs such as Free Basics. With your help, and 12 lakh emails to TRAI last year, we’d helped to work towards a ban for it in India too – but Facebook has since spent a large amount of cash in ads, lobbying, diplomacy and PR to try to get it unbanned here. They’ve managed to re-open a closed issue, again. With your help, we’d like to re-shut it.



More to the point, this program, call it digital apartheid, if you will, has been roundly condemned by experts ranging from Tim Berners-Lee, the gent who invented the world-wide web, to Ph. D. researchers to civil society officials working in the field, globally.

The fact that Tanzania didn’t know how to say no to Facebook doesn’t mean India has to say yes. In fact, we hope that India saying no to this digital apartheid will inspire the African and other poor nations to kick out this evil program that serves no one but Facebook at their government’s expense.

8. “In a recent representative poll, 86% of Indians supported Free Basics.” Guess what, if you’ve ever clicked “yes” on any misleading poll by Facebook apparently asking you to support “connecting India” or “free internet”, then you too apparently voted for them. They never brought you both sides of the story, to take a fair decision.

9. “3.2 million people have petitioned TRAI in support of Free Basics.” Let’s again say it for what it is: 3.2 million people out of Facebook’s base of 130 million people who were repeatedly shown a misleading petition by Facebook on top of their pages clicked yes and submit, without being told both sides of the story, and thinking they were doing something for a noble cause, and not to further Facebook’s business strategy. A large number of them, shocked at realizing what they were conned into doing have since said no.

10. “There are no ads in the version of Facebook on Free Basics. Facebook produces no revenue. We are doing this to connect India and the benefits to do so are clear.” First the unintentional lie. Facebook DOES produce revenue, about Rs. 12,000 crores worth globally. Then the intentional half-truth: It may not produce revenues from this Free Basics YET because the current version of Facebook on it has no ads YET.

(This lie has been caught too! Update on Dec 28: Chris Daniels of Facebook explicitly says they reserve the right to have ads on Facebook Free Basics in the future: https://www.reddit.com/r/india/comme...p_internetorg/)

If they’ve spent a hundred crores rupees and a large chunk of their current Indian revenues kissing up to our politicians and telling our citizens they want to do charity, then there absolutely WILL be a monetary payoff. If a product is free then the user is the item being sold

11. Let’s add a point here, and actually get to why Facebook is doing this. Forget their lies about “wanting to connect India” – if they really did, they would offer the open and full internet to everybody free. They can, easily, but they have repeatedly have declined to do so, saying first the poor person has to sign up for Facebook and then a few scraggly sites are also shown to them.

The real reason is something they have never denied: their rivalry with Google and their questionable stock price. We are no apologists for Google, but this might interest you:

Both companies have 1.5 billion users, but Google makes Rs. 70,000 crores while Facebook does less than one-fifth as well. In other words, for every new user that comes on the internet, Facebook makes Rs. 8, while Google makes aroumd Rs. 48.

Facebook’s stock is valued at a much higher multiple than Google, but people have begin to ask why they deserve this. With no reason to support the stratospheric price, it will fall.



For Facebook to have a chance to keep their stock price high, and to keep Zuckerberg and wife as rich as they are, they need to find new users who sign up for Facebook, but at the same time do not use Google.
Enter the strategy: A program to offer Facebook but not Google at the mass, poor people level.

Who is outside the first 1.5 billion people? Mostly people in India and China. Facebook is banned in China. So who becomes essential to Mark Zuckerberg’s balance sheet? Enter us Indians. What’s a hundred crores of ad spend, against tens of thousands crores of valuation?

Now you have a second view of what’s happening. A view they have never denied.

By the way, there’s no NGO subsidiary or separate CSR effort at Facebook that runs Free Basics. It’s part of their main business unit.

So let’s sum it up.



Yes, we net neutrality activists are opposed to Facebook’s attempt to disconnect Indians from the full internet. Yes, we are opposed to the digital apartheid they want to bring about, giving the poor only Facebook but denying them other sites.
And yes, we’ll be happy if they just gave data free, without terms and conditions – after all, it’s our wireless network they want to offer their service on. It has to work for us the people of India, not just for the owner of Facebook.

There are many other reasons why Facebook Free Basics Digital Apartheid is bad. Its bad for entrepreneurs – your business cant be discovered by these new potential users on the internet till you advertise on Facebook. The same goes for big businesses.

Also, if Facebook is allowed to get away with this then every other company will offer its own “free Basics” with other sites and we will grow up as a fractured country, unable to speak with each other because we are all on different, unconnected micro-networks.

The internet has been the biggest revolution of our times. The breadth and width allowed a Zuckerberg to become the businessman he is. Tragic that he is pushing for a micro network outside the internet where a future Zuckerberg can never realised his potential. It’s imperialism and the East India Company all over again. Under the lie of “Digital equality”.



We are happy to support any effort that brings the full and unfettered internet to as many Indians as possible, as cheaply as possible. This is not that effort.
We have a petition at http://www.SaveTheInternet.in



We don’t have a hundred crores to spend.

All we ask is that you consider this view, decide for yourself what’s best for our country, and see if you are inclined to agree with us.

If you are, please sign the petition above, and share this with as many people as possible.

Your sharing can overcome any billionaire’s ad budget.
Thank you.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 30th December 2015 at 12:22. Reason: Adding quotes.
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:22   #334
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IMO it's like Television / Newspapers.

We don't pay for the content, we just pay for the content to reach us.

Similarly it'll be for internet, infact better, people get to access the data they desire. Whereas in TV/Newspapers we're forced to consume only the content they want to show.

See, our nationalism hasn't been able to connect the rural poor with the world, then why do we deprive them of the the same when some business is finds it viable to provide them access.

If we value their free access, we should either pay for it indirectly (thru govt), or allow them to access it the way they choose.

While we can pay our own internet bills & stay independent & safe with our info.

Are we supporting net neutrality, has it become some form of organised deprivation that we won't allow the poor to access internet ?
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:26   #335
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IMO it's like Television / Newspapers.

------snip------ internet ?
When magnanimity is being demonstrated, why throttle the poor guy? If goodwill is at heart, why not provide 100mb of free data to the poor man?
Wouldn't that be more philanthropic?
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:30   #336
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When magnanimity is being demonstrated, why throttle the poor guy? If goodwill is at heart, why not provide 100mb of free data to the poor man?
Wouldn't that be more philanthropic?
Its not about charity. If a business finds value in some poor (/willing) persons data, who are we to deprive that poor (/willing) person of being able to encash that value?
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:38   #337
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Guys pls help with me some basics here - sorry for the pun

1) Isn't FB partnering with the telecom operators and offering this ? So there is a commercial contract between the two and they offer these services to WILLING users who are not bound by any contract to stay in this plan. They can always opt for any other plan if they want to use other websites - correct ?

2) What is the Govt's role here ? Are they "selling" off any spectrum directly for this program ? Isn't the spectrum already paid for by the respective operator. So what exactly is the concern around using " public " resources for private gain ? And while we are at that - I don't even want to get started on how in our country, most of what is public is anyways in private hands - whether it is prime property in cities or reserved forests - most of it has been illegally acquired anyways.

3) If this is just another option given to a customer in India, why not give them the option to choose instead of a few people deciding whether that choice should exist or not ?

4) If data of users is a concern, isn't most of our data already in the internet and subject to whatever "use or misuse" that it can be subjected to ? How does this program add to that ?

I am not a FB supporter ( in fact don't even have active profile ) but am not sure why a lot of time and energy is wasted on this rather than focusing on the real "basics" like food, water, roads, education etc which are already getting usurped by private hands.
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:40   #338
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Its not about charity. If a business finds value in some poor (/willing) persons data, who are we to deprive that poor (/willing) person of being able to encash that value?
Exactly.
So why the facade? Term it a business model, say how it's a profit move. Don't be subversive.
Psst: because that irons out the grey areas ,in which case other nations and governments have rejected. Is it purely from some "gains" POV that this is still being "discussed" with the current regime, where the rest of the developing world would have shown them the door?
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:48   #339
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Are we supporting net neutrality, has it become some form of organised deprivation that we won't allow the poor to access internet ?
This is the real tragedy, that even seasoned Internet users are unable to understand the issue.

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IMO it's like Television / Newspapers.
Sorry, it is not. Internet is more like highways, which everybody need to use in future, or even now. FB is offering a special highway for free which only goes to FB approved destinations. They are looking to capture millions of poor people with mobile phones and keep them captive in their special free highway. FB will become the middleman between these poor people and the rest of the world.

Instead, the government can offer free data pack directly to the poor, which allows them to go anywhere. Why do we need FB at all? The spectrum belongs to every Indian citizen, we can't afford to give it away to FB to fill their coffers.
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Old 30th December 2015, 12:52   #340
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I am not a FB supporter ( in fact don't even have active profile ) but am not sure why a lot of time and energy is wasted on this rather than focusing on the real "basics" like food, water, roads, education etc which are already getting usurped by private hands.
Exactly Narayan

Initially it may seem like benevolence. But rest assured it is not. No one does anything(even for the poor) without a long term vested interest. When Microsoft have IE free with Windows it was to put netscape out of business.
Please please see through this trickery.
As Narayan has pointed out food water etc are real basic needs, not internet.
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Old 30th December 2015, 13:13   #341
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Initially it may seem like benevolence. But rest assured it is not. No one does anything(even for the poor) without a long term vested interest.
I am not an expert in this, and am still figuring out what is what. From whatever I read so far, I could make out -
1) Free Basics aka Internet.org is not free; it comes with a lot of 'Conditions Apply'.
2) It is not access to internet as Facebook puts it. It is access to certain websites in the internet which the internet.org chooses to provide. "Restricted".
3) Should not be compared to censorship by the government etc. Censorship of certain sites is based on the law of the state.

And some questions:
1) Internet and telephone services is quite expensive in Facebook's home - USA. Are they offering this in the USA?
2) Is this against the existing laws in India regarding internet access via mobile service providers? - I would assume so, hence TRAI put up the consultation paper.
3) Even if we consider it as a goodwill (with the obvious business benefits to FB ignored for a while), will it lead/mislead the unsuspicious masses to believe that this is internet, and this is all you need??

As of now, I tend to vote against it. Just my opinion.
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Old 30th December 2015, 14:49   #342
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... Internet is more like highways, which everybody need to use in future, or even now. FB is offering a special highway for free which only goes to FB approved destinations.
Atleast they're getting to choose to go somewhere, as of now we're keeping them contained at the same place.

Quote:
They are looking to capture millions of poor people with mobile phones and keep them captive in their special free highway.
But can't they migrate to regular internet plans if they pay for the normal data pack? They can AFAIK.

Quote:
FB will become the middleman between these poor people and the rest of the world.
Its business. The way I see it, we're keeping them captive & given India's poverty, they're waiting in a LONG queue whereas FB is atleast taking them somewhere. They'll decide themselves if they don't want to be there.

We've been using mobile internet since a decade already, rural/poor India hasn't. Imagine how secluded we're allowing them to be (thru "market forces").

Quote:
Instead, the government can offer free data pack directly to the poor, which allows them to go anywhere.
Even 200mb 2G data per month will do for basic twitter & WhatsApp, but when will that happen if thru govt ?

Quote:
Why do we need FB at all? The spectrum belongs to every Indian citizen, we can't afford to give it away to FB to fill their coffers.
FB pays telecom companies for spectrum thats already leased out. How much do you think FB will earn from data of the poor who can't afford internet ?

If you've never seen TV in your life & one day I start showing you ads, you'll be atleast happy to have seen something. Having seen those adverts / that narrative, its upto you to decide how you want to act on it.

I truly admire an idealistic approach in an ideal world sumurai, but this one isn't & I pity the rights of ones willing to access free internet also.

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...2) It is not access to internet as Facebook puts it. It is access to certain websites in the internet which the internet.org chooses to provide. "Restricted".
Yes, its like access to twitter but only to certain specific accounts. Just an extreme example.

Quote:
2) Is this against the existing laws in India regarding internet access via mobile service providers? - I would assume so, hence TRAI put up the consultation paper.
IIRC No. Someone spread awareness & a petition against it.

Quote:
will it lead/mislead the unsuspicious masses to believe that this is internet, and this is all you need??
People will know that this is a free data plan. When they can pay for regular data plan, they can surf the full internet freely.

Thats why I say this is like newspapers. Its a specific kind of content tailored to target the readers & follows a narrative built by companies since the paper is sponsored by adverts. Its upto us to decide how we want to act on having seen those adverts / that narrative.

For real news we've to pay Rs.25/paper, but since we 'poor' Indians will only pay Rs.5/-, companies like ToI have turned into massively-large equity funds with significant media holdings, and openly say on record that they're not for delivering news based on journalistic ideals, but for delivering adverts. They're the most widely circulated paper in the world. Which means people understand & subscribe to ToI's model (which should be blasphemous in an ideal world).

Content may be dodgy (Like how there was a recent news about a Telecom company being congratulated by Indian "celebrities" with tweets that read exactly the same. Link.) but its atleast there!

But we're OK with that, yet somehow not OK with Free Basics. Thus I feel somewhere by mistake we're being misled to follow double standards.

Last edited by WorkingGuru : 30th December 2015 at 15:13.
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Old 30th December 2015, 14:52   #343
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Now saw a similar ad in the news paper as well. It had many of the items as posted in Mayankk's post.

If the customer does not pay to access, and if its open to all carriers, and if facebook does not pay the carriers, then who pays for the connectivity and data, since there is not free lunch, especially from a corporate?!! Know all the mobile companies they will not let anything go uncharged. Would that mean, these companies would slowly increase the tariffs for other subscribers to compensate for this ?
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Old 30th December 2015, 15:18   #344
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This is billion buck game. And I am amazed to see, how on earth, so many of my well educated friends, go on and the sign the petition. The answer is in the way its packaged to invoke sympathy for the poor and needy.
To answer your question on who will pay raghu, it's going to be us and those websites that we need to access, out of the boundaries of brotherhood. And off course all transactions would fetch some amount of royalty.
And once this demarcation happens then tariffs can and will be increased at the whims and fancy of the ISP's
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Old 30th December 2015, 15:50   #345
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I am outright against this...deep inside because I find Facebook to be so useless or at least being used in a useless way by a lot of people I know.

Having said that, just from the point of view of debating this topic - how is this different from say a telecom operator providing free access to facebook on its own accord? For e.g if I am Airtel and I offer a plan that gives free access to Facebook in order to attract more users, isn't that similar to what is being debated? Can anyone stop Airtel(just as an example) from doing that?

The other point is, free basics maybe wrong, but if its not forcing anyone to adopt it and just giving one more choice, it becomes difficult to argue against it. What I want to say is, it is wrong from a value judgement point of view and ofcourse Facebook is not doing this to connect India, but surely its a mighty good business plan and one which is only giving more choice and not forcing anyone to do something.

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T

Sorry, it is not. Internet is more like highways, which everybody need to use in future, or even now. FB is offering a special highway for free which only goes to FB approved destinations. They are looking to capture millions of poor people with mobile phones and keep them captive in their special free highway. FB will become the middleman between these poor people and the rest of the world.
If using that analogy, I think the way to describe it would be ; think of Internet as a country and spectrum as the tolled highway connecting the country. The telecom operators are the toll collectors who build and maintain the highway. The various websites are the different states in that country. And these states have to use the tolled highways to attract investors to their lands. Now think of free basics as a free bus service arranged by a particular state government in conjugation with the toll keepers so that all citizens of the country can reach that particular state free of cost by riding the sponsored bus service. Now, the thing is that this particular state in the garb of providing free transportation is actually wanting to attract investor dollars by ensuring that a lot of people visit it and not the other states.

Last edited by rrsteer : 30th December 2015 at 16:02.
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