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Facebook Hopeful of Free Basics Becoming Available in the US

An earlier report by The Washington Post shows that Facebook is currently in talks with the US government and wireless carriers. The discussion being presented by the social media giant is hoping to be able to bring their "Free Basics" internet service to everyone in the country. Unnamed sources reveal that while the discussion has been ongoing for several months now, the challenge has been on determining how best roll out the service.

Despite its name, Free Basics isn't exactly a service that offers free internet. Instead, the service simply hopes to win the approval of wireless carriers so that they could offer certain internet services along with their data plans.  Among these services include online news, health information, job leads, and even Facebook. The idea is to have the data plans offer these services without counting against the data allotment of the user.

The service is especially useful for low-income and rural citizens in the U.S. as they mostly don't have enough to pay for large data plans or high-speed internet service on their smartphones or even at home. With Free Basics approved, it could be very useful for such individuals who don't have the luxury of browsing the internet that much.

For its part, the FCC has been reported to show an interest in opening up spectrum and change state laws so that low-income and rural citizens can get connected as well. Meanwhile, the partnership could violate net neutrality and could end up like what happened in India, where the program was ruled that it infringed net neutrality. The FCC has responded to these concerns, saying that they were still "trying to make sure" the full implications of zero-rating were understood.

According to the anonymous sources, Facebook has been hoping to develop relationships with the smaller carriers so that they can go beyond the idea that Free Basics is anti-competitive. It has also been reported to not attempt to sign any deals with larger carriers such as T-Mobile or AT&T. But there is also reason for these smaller carriers to be skeptical of this partnership as it could trigger some legal and regulatory costs by the FCC. Ultimately, the ball is in the FCC's court and will depend on how it decides about Free Basics.

Facebook's Free Basics program currently operates in 49 countries abroad.

Source: Fierce Wireless, The Washington Post



Comment Page :
  1. Facebook could offer me free unlimited internet, and I wouldn't accept. Same goes for Google. These two giant corporations have proven track records that repeatably demonstrate they cannot be trusted with personal data.

  2. This must be a Facebook business decision to drive Facebook ad revenue up. :)

    Very enlightening to read India's decision to reject the Facebook ploy there.


    1. Good point because corporations never do anything out of altruism. Everything a corporation does has a cost benefit analysis.

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