India blocks free basics internet scheme of Facebook

facebookTelecoms regulator of India has blocked the free Internet Basics Facebook within the country.

The scheme offers free access to a limited number of websites.

However, it was rejected by supporters of network neutrality argue that data providers should not favor some services over others online.

Free content includes pages of local suppliers selected news and weather, the BBC, Wikipedia and various health services.

Facebook has been contacted for comment.

Vikas Pandey, digital producer for the BBC in India, said there had been an intense advertising campaign on both sides of the debate, with Facebook taking front-page advertising in national newspapers to defend the regime.

“People who live in cities and are aggressive Internet users said: ‘You can not dictate terms, will provide free Internet access to the population and then tell you how to use it’,” he said.

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has argued that “it is not sustainable to provide all the Internet for free.”

The firm previously said he believed the project, which was launched in 2013 as Internet.org and is offered in 36 countries, has led to more than 15 million people online who would not otherwise have been able to afford access.