India has blocked Free Basics, Facebook's plan to provide free internet access to the developing world

India has blocked Free Basics, Facebook’s plan to provide free internet access in the developing world.

The service lets users access certain sites for free — but not the entire internet.

This sparked an intense row in India over net neutrality, the principle that all network data must be treated equally. Critics of the scheme argue that Free Basics creates a ghettoized internet, with the main internet for the (relatively) wealthy and a limited version for poor people.

On Monday, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) announced it had issued the “Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016,” which “disallow[s] service providers to offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content being access by a consumer.”

The announcement does not mention Facebook, or Free Basics, by name, but by blocking services from offering only certain types of content, it means Free Basics will not be able to function.

Business Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment.

This story is developing …

Here’s a link to TRAI’s announcement »

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