FB cooperates with India to find alternatives for ‘Free Basics’
Alternative for “Free Basics”
FB cooperates with India to find alternatives for ‘Free Basics’:- Facebook, the social networking website has been cooperating with the Indian government in order to “explore alternatives” to its much controversial ‘Free Basics’ programme. Notably the program had to shut down last year, following the TRAI’s move to restrict operators from charging different rates for the Internet access based on content.
“Facebook is working with the Indian government to see what the potential alternate solutions are moving forward to connect India,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Sepulveda said today.
These remarks came following the US-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) working group’s meeting here, which was a part of the fifth cyber dialogue between the two countries.
India, which currently has the world’s largest population “offline”, will now have to focus on the wireless mobile space in order to spread Internet connectivity, which is cost-effective when compared to laying down of wires, Sepulveda said when asked to identify the “basic thrust” of the dialogue.
“The solution for connecting people, who are either very poor or live very far from others, will have to be a mobile one as laying down of wires from one person to another in a rural community costs a lot. A much more cost-effective solution is wireless,” he told journalists.
New technologies to come up soon
A decision to further establish the technical working level groups around new technologies was taken during the talks, Sepulveda, who is also the US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, said. He also mentioned that US tech industries are “bullish” on India and “excited” about this upcoming wireless spectrum auction.
He has also flagged the India-specific testing standards of these devices, to be marketed in the country as an area of concern, saying that most markets recognized international certification.
“Mandating production is both counter-productive and also bad economics. We are trying to understand why India has separate requirements and what would be the business-friendly ways to further meet those standards,” he said. Sepulveda said countering “violent extremism” on the Internet was a global challenge and the US was partnering with multiple countries, including India, on that front.