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22 February 2015 Mobile App: Free Internet by Facebook & Reliance Communication || First Step towards Net Neutrality Violation?

Facebook in association with Reliance communications, launched the global Internet project called in India. The project, which was globally announced in August last year, aims to bring Internet connectivity to the two-thirds of the global population that is not connected to the internet. 


The services had just gone live in 6 telecom circles  in India. It includes Gujarat, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh (Including Telangana) and Tamil Nadu(Including Chennai). The services will start in the remaining circles soon.

The founding members of are Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung.

Reliance communications subscribers in these circles if using Android smartphones can download the app from the play store while Windows, iOS, and feature phone users need to visit the website from their default web browser. All activity within this app or website while on Rcom network will be completely free of data usage charges.

There are a total of 38 web services which are being offered free of charge to the users of on Rcom network which are listed below:
  1. Aaj Tak - Read news in Hindi
  2. AccuWeather - Get updated weather information
  3. - Read news in Hindi
  4. AP Speaks - Engage with local government
  5. Babajob - Search for jobs
  6. BabyCenter & MAMA - Learn about pregnancy and children
  7. BBC News - Read news from around the world
  8. Bing Search - Find information
  9. Cleartrip - Check train and flight schedules & buy tickets
  10. Daily Bhaskar - Read local news
  11. - Search for meanings of words
  12. ESPN Cricinfo - Get cricket updates
  13. Facebook - Communicate with friends and family
  14. Facts for Life - Find health and hygiene information
  15. Girl Effect - Read articles and tips for girls
  16. HungamaPlay - Listen to music
  17. IBNLive - Read news
  18. iLearn - Learn from Women Entrepreneurs
  19. India Today - Read local news
  20. Internet Basics - Learn about the basics of the Internet
  21. Jagran - Read local news
  22. Jagran Josh - Get education and career information
  23. Maalai Malar - Read news in Tamil
  24. Maharashtra Times - Read news in Marathi
  25. Malaria No More - Learn about malaria
  26. - Read local news
  27. Messenger - Send messages to friends and family
  28. NDTV - Read news
  29. Newshunt - Read news in English
  30. OLX - Buy and sell products and services
  31. Reliance Astrology - Read your horoscope
  32. Reuters Market Lite - Get farming and crop information
  33. Socialblood - Register to donate blood
  34. Times of India - Read news
  35. TimesJobs - Search for jobs
  36. Translator - Translate words and phrases
  37. Wikipedia - Find information
  38. wikiHow - Find information

Most of these services have links to apps outside of and the user will be shown a popup notification saying that they are now leaving and basic data charges will apply if they choose to continue. 

Facebook and Reliance Communications are using as a platform to increase their subscriber base and revenue. By offering these services for free, they are trying to tap the revenue from that segment of mobile users who have not opened up to paying for data services yet.

Later, customers of services may be tempted to use additional services which are not included in the free package. This may also be considered as the first step towards net neutrality violation. It is because, is not providing complete Free access to Internet Services. They are just restricting the internet access of customers to a limited set of services. Those who wish to access other websites need to pay additional charge for it.

Dear readers, please share your views about the Free Internet Offer from in association with Facebook & Reliance Communications.

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