India Votes for Net Neutrality (Against Facebook’s Free Basics)

India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority voted to preserve net neutrality in India. That is, telecom providers will not be able to provide enhanced access to certain websites (or slower access to others). The authority ruled that online activities should be chosen by the user, not the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

This ruling bans Facebook’s “free Internet,” called Free Basics. Free Basics is a mobile application that provides free access to certain websites (including Facebook), but not others, in India and other countries.

Proponents of net neutrality see this ruling as essential for keeping India’s Internet access the same whether the subscriber is a “have” or a “have-not.” However, not everyone can afford non-free Internet services.

The ruling may have a ripple affect through other countries where Free Basics is testing its “some Internet” model.

By Sharon Campbell

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