India's telecom regulatory authority TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has effectively banned Free Basics in the country, following its verdict on differential pricing. Facebook's zero-rated service has been criticized by net neutrality advocates in recent months for providing free access to a limited set of services.
Facebook, for its part, tried to boost support for its service by aggressively marketing Free Basics in India over the last month following a ban by TRAI as the regulator deliberated over zero-rated platforms. Facebook's ad campaign led to over 11 million people responding to TRAI, but the regulator rejected them as the "majority of the individual comments received did not address the specific questions that were raised."
TRAI relied on comments from service providers and over 40 organizations around the country to come to a decision:
The regulator said that giving one service provider the ability to offer discriminatory pricing based on the content could "compromise the entire architecture of the internet itself:"
The new ruling prohibits any differential pricing for data-based services, making Free Basics illegal in the country:
From TRAI chairman Ram Sewak Sharma:
Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg said that he was "disappointed" with TRAI's decision:
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia for Android Central, Windows Central's sister site. When not reviewing phones, he's testing PC hardware, including video cards, motherboards, gaming accessories, and keyboards.