, the controversial, net neutrality-activist-provoking service from Facebook to provide certain services to users in emerging economies free of cost, has just been renamed to Free Basics. The service, will be available both via a desktop and mobile app version to users in markets like India and others.

Free Basics will now be a part of the larger, Internet.Org initiative and will cater to providing basic services through mobile apps and web platform to rural and sub-urban populace in India and other emerging nations.

Chris Daniels, VP of says,

We wanted to strike a differentiation between and program with operator partnerships.

If you’d remember, Facebook’s had the idea of providing free internet to people in developing markets and then further provide them with certain useful and basic apps on the platform. The mode however is now to provide apps, and has been drawn out as a subsidiary of the original Internet.Org initiative.

The Free Basics app and mobile website went live in India with over 60 partnerships including services like English Dost, MeraDoctor and M-Kisan on Thursday.

Interestingly, the move comes just at a time when PM Modi is in the US and is set to go for a long, comprehensive visit to Silicon Valley. He has already outlined how he would garner more support for his ambitious ‘Digital India’ campaign, through which he aims to bring every Indian online in the coming few year.


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