Facebook admits defeat, finally shuts down Free Basics in India

Earlier this week after India’s Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) delivered its verdict on differential pricing favouring Net Neutrality, the future of Facebook’s Free Basics darkened considerably. It has now been announced that the controversial service that aimed to offer access to basic web services to underprivileged users for free has now been shut down in India.


In a statement released by Facebook to website TheNextWeb, the company simply stated that “Free Basics is no longer available to people in India.”

This follows a tumultuous few days since the TRAI announcement, that witnessed strong reactions from quarters both for and against the Facebook service–one that was directly impacted by the ruling. From Facebook Director and Silicon Valley maven Marc Andreessen putting out a derogatory tweet likening India’s forfeiting of Free Basics to being anti-colonialism, to Mark Zuckerberg reacting strongly to it, to Andreessen finally apologizing, the Free Basics issue was undoubtedly a topic of heated discussion.
This isn’t the first global instance of Free Basics being banned–at the start of this year the service was banned in Egypt on the grounds that the permissions to run it after the initial two-month period wasn’t renewed.

Despite it being shutdown in India, Facebook continues to operate the Free Basics project in around 30 countries across the globe.