Facebook is apparently trying to offer its free subsidized Internet services in the US through an app called FREE BASICS. The US version of ‘Free Basics’ tends to target over Americans living in rural areas and incurring low income. In short, who is unable to pay for using high speed internet.The app do not itself pay directly to users, it tends to offer partnership with US wireless carriers thus allowing people to have access to basic internet like news, jobs options, health areas, Facebook etc. Though this is favorable for US residents, it is facing lot of controversies. Top carrier providers like T-Mobile & AT&T and other major carriers were not partnered, as per resources. This would give Facebook services priority over others.
Facebook faced a similar misfortune in India and several other countries because such apps were giving unfair advantages to Facebook making others grappled. In India, only within six months of its launch, Indian Telecom Regulatory Body claimed it has violated “zero rating” practice. Which implies violation of tenets of net neutrality based on the information that Facebook was incurring unfair advantage by offering free internet through medium carriers. This had made Facebook authorities see the permission and mid-way to launch FREE BASICS without violating the laws.
In US it could not had its luck so far. Will it launch or it won’t is a matter of debate still. And no date for the launch has been rolled out.
Analysts are having different views regarding this free internet services. One group says Facebook is offering a crucial tool in connecting the underdeveloped and poor sections to internet, which is a boon for their growth and development. Cost is one factor that hinders particularly minorities from getting online. Facebook’s FREE BASICS internet app will help in closing an economic divide under the name of connectivity. The less fortunates will have access to civic and social online services. There is the second section which oppose the launch.They argue such services will create a multi layered plane that will favor high-end businesses like FACEBOOK. They feel it will be selfish to exempt services from data caps.
Facebook is toiling hard to make these services go live. The company is in process of conversation with White House officials about giving them the free internet. The US Authorities are in mode of finding a mid-way. Facebook authorities are persuading small cellular service carriers to partner with FREE BASICS. Let me add to your knowledge it has already been efficiently launched in 49 countries. In the wake of the tumult, Facebook made bit alterations in its approach to Free Basics. It announced any third party can use there services, provided the abide by some rules like ban on the use of HD videos and images that munches a lot of data. The analysts warns the agencies accepting the partnership of dire consequences of business risk as FCC perusal over “zero rating” could raise legal cost to relish services. Also, Facebook might change their terms and conditions in future, creating a problem for them.
US internet attorneys has requested the Federal Communications Commission to regulate unfair zero rating under net neutrality laws in order to curb the large business benefits. In turn, the FCC has not decided anything. They are looking deep into the matter trying to understand minute effect of implications of the practice. Facebook hopes to convince White House officials who will ensure the app do not fail before start.