Facebook rebrands free Internet service, expands

  • TECH
  • Monday, 28 Sep 2015

A rose by any other name: Facebook has renamed free Internet service for developing countries to "Free Basics

WASHINGTON: Facebook has changed the name of its programme offering free Internet to developing countries to “Free Basics” and added more services. 

It used to be a service within Facebook’s broader Internet.org initiative, which seeks to expand online access around the world. 

It comes after criticism because of the limited service for the free programme – which some say flies in the face of Facebook’s commitment for “net neutrality,” or equal treatment for all online services. 

Earlier this year, Facebook opened the initiative to outside applications after news organisations in India withdrew their websites. 

In a statement, Facebook said that with its latest update, “more than 60 new services are available across the 19 countries where free basic services are available.” 

Facebook has said it would be impractical to offer the entire Internet for free through the programme, which works through mobile carriers in various countries. 

But it said that the programme can provide important services for health, education and jobs to as many as one billion people in the 19 countries where it is available. — AFP

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