Facebook’s Free Basics plan gets slammed by Microsoft

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Microsoft India’s Chairman, Bhaskar Pramanik recently slammed Facebook’s Free Basics plan. In a statement to the Economic Times, Pramanik stated that what Facebook is doing isn’t about net neutrality – it’s about “helping first-time users get on the Internet”. Here’s Pramanik’s full statement:

“I don’t think what Facebook is doing is about net neutrality; it is about helping first-time users get on the Internet and they should call it that. But to muddy it and say that it is also net neutral doesn’t make sense. We believe in net neutrality; we believe that the Internet should be free of any constraints … that was the whole intent of the Internet. Somebody is paying for it. And the problem then is that if the operator or a service provider has the right to pay for it, then it limits smaller or any other organization (not part of Free Basics). If they (users) are going to be charged more for a certain set of applications of their choice and directed only to the certain set because the operator says I will give you those for free, then where is there net neutrality?”

It is interesting how Pramanik explained the issue with Free Basics. While Facebook’s plan is called “Free Basics,” it is kind of misleading as it isn’t really free and operators have to pay for it which limits small organizations from being part of Free Basics. Simply, Microsoft’s Bhaskar Pramanik thinks Free Basics could be noble, but Facebook isn’t doing it right by saying its Free Basics plan is net neutral. With that being said, what do you think of Facebook’s Free Basics? Discuss in the comment section below.

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