Social media giant, Facebook, is already in talks with government officials to provide its Free Basics Internet service to millions of people in the U.S. However, Facebook is now more cautious with their new venture after their project was derailed in India due to regulatory scrutiny.
Talks ongoing for Facebook
The subsidized Internet service, known as Free Basics, would be offered to low-income and rural areas with the help of wireless carriers. The access would be limited just like the recently banned service in India. Facebook is in talks with U.S. government officials to help avoid the issues it has faced in other countries. Some U.S. carriers like AT&T have similar free data service which provides access to certain Internet services, like music and video without any problems.
Facebook aims to achieve the same goal although there is no clear result yet of how successful the company would be with its efforts. The U.S. version offering of the Free Basics is also unknown since the social media giant decided to partner with smaller carriers instead of major ones like T-Mobile and AT&T. A Facebook spokesperson said that there is nothing yet to announce but the company aims to connect the world together, including the U.S.
The challenge for Facebook's Free Basics service
Facebook launched the Free Basics in 2014 to provide access to users who have limited or virtually nonexistent access to the web. Today, the service is already available in 36 countries and has helped Facebook spread its influence from countries all across Latin America, Asia and Africa.
However, Facebook was brought under scrutiny for giving special treatment to certain websites like theirs since Free Basics would prioritize the company's offered services more than others. This seemed to raise concerns which led to the service being banned in India. A similar problem also arose in Egypt.