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Facebook in Talks With U.S. Government About Bringing "Free Basics" to America

Accepted submission by takyon at 2016-10-06 23:13:15
Techonomics

Facebook is interested in bringing zero-rated "Free Basics" Internet access to Americans [washingtonpost.com], after its failure in India [soylentnews.org]:

Facebook has been in talks for months with U.S. government officials and wireless carriers with an eye toward unveiling an American version of an app that has caused controversy abroad, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The social media giant is trying to determine how to roll out its program, known as Free Basics, in the United States without triggering the regulatory scrutiny that effectively killed a version of the app in India [washingtonpost.com] earlier this year. If Facebook succeeds with its U.S. agenda for Free Basics — which has not been previously reported — it would mark a major victory for the company as it seeks to connect millions more to the Web, and to its own platform.

The U.S. version of Free Basics would target low-income and rural Americans who cannot afford reliable, high-speed Internet at home or on smartphones. The app does not directly pay for users' mobile data. Rather, it allows users to stretch their data plans by offering, in partnership with wireless carriers, free Internet access to resources such as online news, health information and job leads.

Also at Ars Technica [arstechnica.com], CBS [cbsnews.com], USA Today [usatoday.com], and CNET [cnet.com].


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