Our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi is in the silicon valley to promote Make in India campaign, and he is expected to visit the FB headquarters within 2 or 3 days. Just before Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with the PM, Facebook has renamed its free internet app to free basic services.
If you try to open internet.org website, the browser will redirect you to https://0.freebasics.com. The name has been changed, but the features, and UI are still the same. Facebook has added HTTPS support to protect user’s privacy.
Free basic is now a part of internet.org initiative. In the coming months, Facebook might introduce some more projects to make this program more flexible and beneficial for the users.
Several popular news, health and education portals are accessible on the Free basics application. If you’re a developer and want to see your website available via the freebasics platform, contact Facebook.
Controversies and Net neutrality
Freebasics aka Internet.org is a good initiative, but controversies surround it since day 1. Many people are against it because only a few hundred websites are free to access. The portals are not, and you will be asked to purchase individual packs to access additional features like uploading pictures, accessing external URLs, etc.
Facebook has chosen a few telecom operators to offer free Internet. For example, you have to be an owner of Reliance SIM card to use the app/website else you’ll see an error. In Kenya, only Airtel users will have access to this platform. Other operators will charge you for accessing the portals added to the free basic services app/online service.
Medianama had conducted a survey which revealed that only 19 to 20 percent using Internet.org are new. The remaining people are internet addicts who don’t want to pay money for using GPRS connection. The project is not a failure as it has helped 1000s of people discover the benefits of Internet.
About PM’s meeting with Zuck
Both the leaders will face a Q and A session, and they’re likely to discuss their strategies on internet penetration in India with others. Local news channel is expected to broadcast this meeting. Don’t miss it!