Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is “disappointed” with Indian regulator TRAI’s decision to restrict programmes that provide free access to data, which will impact Facebook’s Free Basics’ zero rated service.
He said the decision would not deter Facebook from its goal of “connecting India” and “help lift people out of poverty, create millions of jobs and spread education opportunities”.
“Everyone in the world should have access to the internet,” he wrote in a Facebook post, adding that “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. That mission continues, and so does our commitment to India.”
Free Basics is a product of the internet.org initiative which offers users free access to a range of data services, including the social network. More than 19 million people in 38 countries have been connected through Facebook’s different programmes, according to Zuckerberg.
TRAI ruled against differential data pricing earlier this week. The verdict was greeted with enthusiasm by net neutrality supporters but leaves doubt hanging over Facebook’s internet.org strategy in India, at least in its current form.
The ruling, which does not name Facebook or any other provider specifically, will also impact Bharti Airtel’s Airtel Zero sponsored data service.