A DoT panel on net neutrality which opposes projects that allow access to certain websites without mobile data charges was posted last month for public comments till August 15. The panel report says free Internet services like Facebook violate the net neutrality principle.
Amid all the allegations, Facebook has started a public campaign to defend Internet.org in India. Facebook users in India are getting a message on their profiles seeking user opinions on having free basic online services in the country.
In a statement clarifying “myths” against “facts” about Internet.org, Facebook, specifically talks of its take on net neutrality, “Facebook supports net neutrality and has worked throughout the world to ensure that services can't be blocked or throttled and to ensure that fast lanes are prohibited. Net Neutrality seeks to ensure that network operators don’t limit access to services people want to use, and Internet.org's goal is to provide more people with access. It is good for consumer choice and consumer value. Net neutrality and Internet.org can and must co-exist.”
According to Facebook, Internet.org brings new people onto mobile networks on average over 50 per cent faster after launching free basic services. This means that if 1,000 people who were brand new to the internet were signing up per month for mobile data services before launching Internet.org, 1,500 people sign up per month after launching Internet.org.
“Through our connectivity efforts we’ve brought more than 9 million people online that otherwise would not be and introduced them to the incredible value of the internet. People now have access to basic internet services including tools and resources for communication, health, education and local news.”
In response to allegations about Facebook paying operators to zero rate the services within Internet.org, the website stated, “Facebook does not pay operators for the data that people consume. It partners with operators on the technical side and provides marketing support to help make people aware of the program. If successful, people using the internet for the first time will begin to experience its benefits and over time will start exploring and paying to use the broader internet.”