Facebook to launch free Internet app in US

Facebook's free Internet app aka Free Basics is expected to launch in US soon, after the initial launch across 40 countries including India received mixed responses with the local government and authorities. Facebook seems to be in some trouble with Indian government after the telecom regulatory authorities in the country claimed that Free Basics had violated the tenets of net neutrality or "zero rating" practice.

Free Basics is aimed at offering affordable and readily-accessible Internet services to people in rural areas and developing countries. Spurred by Zuckerberg's recent Internet.org initiative, the concept has already garnered support from technology giants like Samsung and Qualcomm in their bid to provide inexpensive web services across the globe.

It is deemed that Facebook is trying to establish unfair advantage over the mobile-phone carriers by offering free Internet access as it could become anti-competitive and hit the carriers' business prospects badly.

With the US boasting of four big-cellphone-carriers (Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon), Facebook is expected to play safe by striking a deal with the smaller regional carriers. However, Free Basics could revolutionise access to Internet in remote areas, especially benefit the low-income and rural Americans who cannot afford reliable, high-speed Internet at home.