Free Basics: Do we really need it?

What is Free Basics? (according to Facebook)

Free Basics is a platform by Facebook which makes the internet accessible to more people by providing them a range of free basic services available on the internet.
“To date, we’ve been(Facebook) is able to offer these services to a billion people across Asia, Africa and Latin America. By introducing people to the benefits of the internet through these services, we hope to bring more people online and help improve their lives.”
Source: Free Basics

Do Indians really need Free Basics?

 Yes, the most important question! Do we really need it?

Free Basics doesn’t work on an open platform. Facebook defines the technical guidelines for Free Basics, and reserves the sole rights to change them. Facebook can reject applicants, (who are forced to comply with Facebook’s T&C). Meanwhile in US, they support permissionless innovation.

Facebook gets access to all the data and usage patterns of all the sites partnered on FreeBasics. No website which wants to compete with Facebook will partner with them because it will have to give them user data. Facebook gives data to the NSA and this is a security issue for India. (source)

Against the concept of Net Neutrality

User

Free Basics will be providing basic services related to Internet for free, Great! But it comes with a hidden reality.
Free Basics will be providing services for only selected companies, not all.
What that figures out is when a user switches to Free Basics, he’ll be able to use only particular companies instead of any service available over the internet. That comes out to that the user doesn’t have freedom to avail some other service which isn’t available on Free Basics.
 
Conclusion: The user loses his freedom over the internet and have to avail the services available on  Free Basics.

Service Providers

Free Basics is against the Service Providers too.
It’ll be a great loss to the service providers who won’t be featuring their services on Free Basics.
These Service Providers will lose millions of their new potential customers as well as the old customers who chose Free Basics.
This also affects in decreasing the competition of the Service Providers partnered with Free Basics.
If the same thing would’ve been done by Myspace, then Mark would’ve been a failed Entrepreneur.
One97 Communications Ltd. ,the mobile payments startup Paytm, is one of several tech companies that are against Internet.org.
“We are totally against telcos preferring one developer over another, We are asking for access neutrality. We are hoping that all startups will be treated equally.” One97 founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in a phone interview with BloombergBusiness.

Verdict

On one side Indian Government wants it’s local vendors to create good product and sell them at a reasonable rate due to the international competition, whereas Free Basics is totally against these morals.
There’s a big difference between basic requirements and luxury. In a  country like India,

In a nation where 190 million go hungry daily (source), where basic sanitation facilities are available to only 50% of it’s citizens(source) are being offered Internet, a luxury to these people.

Maybe Mark’s motive is good, but for India this is probably not a good idea as of now.

We Would like to hear your views and suggestions about Free Basics!

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