Facebook’s Free Basics and TRAI controversy – What you need to know

Facebook’s Free Basics and TRAI controversy – What you need to know

by -

Just two days back Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) put a hold on the rollout of Facebook’s Free Basics service on hold. In our view here at StoryAlert we believe that TRAI is doing the right thing. Read on to find out how the story developed over the last two years.

Aug 2013 : Facebook announces Internet.org to bring affordable Internet access to everyone.

When a business does something like this there is always a reason. Especially when it sounds so goody-goody. Facebook has a vested interest.

Always remember:
More users = More personal information = More money for Facebook


Remember that when something useful is offered for free – always question what it really means.

Turns out that Facebook wanted to give access to selective services and block competitors like Google. Would you be fine not having essential services like Google even if Facebook access was being offered for free?

I would not be fine with being forced to use such a service just because it is free. If internet access is so important then why not give the whole access for free? This whole concept is called “net neutrality”

Inspite of criticism from net neutrality supporters : Facebook seeked out Telecom operators who will help launch this service in various countries.

“Free Basics” launches in countries like Columbia and Ghana and there is no significant opposition. Something bad and free is always better than nothing or expensive.


But we Indians do have a decent if not great telecom service. We should as citizens of the world stand up against such attacks on “net neutrality”
Meanwhile in early 2015, India still remained a challenge since Facebook hadn’t found a Telecom operator to partner in the launch.
Feb 2015 – No marks for guessing who stepped in to do the deed : Reliance Telecom


Nov’ 2015 : Finally Facebook and Reliance formally announce the launch of Free Basics in India
To ensure safe passage with TRAI – Facebook also launched the “Save Free Basics” campaign which some of you might have seen and might have signed up without knowing what you were supporting.

giphy (2)


Dec’ 23 2015 : Fortunately for us Indians – TRAI has a brain which it uses and it puts the launch on hold.



So readers now that you know how “Free Basics” came about and what it means.

My recommendation:

  1. Do not participate in “Save Free Basics” campaign. Let TRAI do the due dilligence and its job.
  2. Share this knowledge with others around you so that everyone knows what is going on here.


All images sourced from: Tumblr.com

Disclaimer: All my views are personal and should be regarded so.