Free Internet? Facebook is in talks to bring its Free Basics app to the USA
According to the report, the U.S. version of Free Basics will target low-income and rural Americans who cannot afford high-speed Internet at home or on smartphones. It will offer free Internet access to content such as online news, health information, and job listings, with the cellular data supplied by Facebook in partnership with wireless carriers. Reportedly, Facebook has been trying to partner up with numerous small and rural wireless carriers to support Free Basics and waive data charges incurred by the app. However, there are possible controversies involved.
Facebook's incentive is beneficial, but also controversial from a business standpointFor example, Indian regulators banned the app in February, as consumer advocates argued that Facebook is hand-picking the services accessed via Free Basics, which potentially puts competitors and nonprofit groups left out of the program at a disadvantage. Moreover, exempting services from data caps favors business with the resources to participate in the program, which creates an unequal ground for companies.
Facebook has a resolution for such problems, though. It lets any organization offer its services via Free Basics, as long as the content served by them doesn't include high-definition images and video, which consumes greater amounts of mobile data. The company is also eschewing talks with the national wireless carriers in the USA, as it's concerned that regulators might perceive them as anti-competitive. Rather, Facebook is pursuing partnerships with smaller service providers.
source: Washington Post