Facebook’s Internet.org initiative offers free Internet services in developing countries where people might not have easy access to the Internet, and the service is now available to people in India through the Free Basics App and the Reliance Communications network.
Reliance Communications is the fourth-largest network in India and has around 110 million subscribers. According to the Reliance Communications website, Free Basics will offer access to services like Facebook and Facebook Messenger, as well as BBC News, Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, Bing Search and some local news.
Of course, Internet.org has been hit with its fair share of criticism. Many suggest that because of the fact that the service gives priority to its partner services, it violates net neutrality. In response to that, however, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that while Internet.org does offer basic services at no charge, it is not aimed at limiting access to other providers. Not only that, but Internet.org is also open for developers to join and is open to other potential partners.
This response, however, has done little to calm critics of the service, who say that there are a lot of drawbacks associated with having a company as large as Facebook controlling what potentially billions of people see online.
Facebook has also been finding other ways of connecting those that otherwise don’t have access to the Internet, even experimenting with drones that offer Internet connections to those below.
Internet.org is available throughout Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia and now India.