Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Zuckerberg: "What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services?"

 Facebook hosting Indian Prime Minister 
Narendra Modi, Sep. 2015
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, continues to defend its Free Basics service, which became the symbol of India's Net Neutrality debate (see "[India]: TRAI Stops Free Facebook" - here).

In an article to The Times of India, Mr. Zuckerbrge summarizes his position in one sentence "To connect a billion people, India must choose facts over fiction"

".. In every society, there are certain basic services that are so important for people’s well being that we expect everyone to be able to access them freely .. libraries .. free basic healthcare .. free basic education .. And in the 21st century, everyone also deserves access to the tools and information that can help them to achieve all those other public services, and all their fundamental social and economic rights.

That’s why everyone also deserves access to free basic internet services .. when people have access to free basic internet services, these quickly overcome the digital divide.

.. Over the last year Facebook has worked with mobile operators, app developers and civil society to overcome these barriers in India and more than 30 other countries.

We launched Free Basics, a set of basic internet services for things like education, healthcare, jobs and communication that people can use without paying for data.

More than 35 operators have launched Free Basics and 15 million people have come online. And half the people who use Free Basics to go online for the first time pay to access the full internet within 30 days .. Who could possibly be against this?

Surprisingly, over the last year there’s been a big debate about this in India .. Right now the TRAI is inviting the public to help decide whether free basic internet services should be offered in India .. What reason is there for denying people free access to vital services for communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and women’s rights?

See "Free Basics protects net neutrality" - here.

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