23 February, 2016, Barcelona: While addressing the packed audience at ‘Mobile World Congress 2016’, Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook said that Facebook’s ‘Free Basics’ is a closed chapter for India. Zuckerberg made the statement after his program was banned by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
It was an initiative by the Facebook to provide internet connectivity to the people staying in rural area. Mark said that he and his team is working on to find some other ways to deliver connectivity to rural Indians.
While delivering his keynote, he stated, “Every country is different and each of them have different rules and regulation. Some 19 million people have connected for the first time worldwide in 38 countries, thanks to Free Basics, with one million of those in India. A million is a drop in the ocean compared to the number of Indians accessing the full internet for the first time – that was about 100 million in 2015. The ruling in India says there’s no differential pricing even for basic services. That’s disappointing and a major step back in India, but it hasn’t affected Basics in other countries, where it is due to be targeted by net neutrality activists.”
Zuckerberg sounded little annoyed since his Free Basics has not taken off as he wanted to be and it has not acquired its full face value.