Facebook responds to Indian telecom watchdog on Free Basics

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) Social networking site Facebook on Wednesday responded to the Indian telecom regulator’s letter regarding Free Basics, saying it tried to cooperate with the watchdog.

“Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected and in this regard we are fully aligned with what we believe is TRAI’s objective this consultation paper (on differential pricing for data services),” the letter said.

Differential pricing on data services is an important aspect of net neutrality.

Industrialist Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCOM) on December 23 said following the Indian telecom regulator’s directive, the commercial launch of Facebook’s Free Basics has been put on hold till it gets clearance. RCOM is the only telecom service provider offering Free Basics in India.

The regulator said Facebook’s Free Basics service should remain on hold till the ruling on differential pricing comes up.

The sector regulator in a letter has raised questions regarding Facebook’s “Save Free Basic’s” campaign.

“When we reviewed your letter of January 7, 2016, we were alarmed by the discrepancy in the number of comments submitted. We promptly sought to understand the source of discrepancy,” Ankhi Das, Facebook’s director for public policy for India, South and Central Asia, said in the letter.

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