Telecom regulator TRAI today extended the last date for comments on the contentious Net neutrality by a month to March 15.
The social network's zero-rated plan, in partnership with telecom operator Reliance Communications in India, offered free access to basic Internet services through select partner websites.
However, he has said he will not give up on breaking down connectivity barriers in India which he described as an important goal for his company
Backing Net neutrality, telecom watchdog TRAI yesterday barred operators from charging different rates for Internet access based on content, dealing a blow to Facebook's controversial Free Basics and other such plans.
The campaign appears as a notification on one's Facebook page, more so after a 'Friend' has signed a pre-filled form and sent the email to the TRAI.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said some plans introduced in the recent past amount to differential tariff plans that offer zero or discounted tariffs to certain content of select websites or applications or platforms.
Earlier called 'Internet.org', Facebook had launched the initiative in India with RCom to offer free access to about 32 apps and websites in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Goa. The number of such free apps and websites has now been increased to over 80.
The global programme claims to be working towards getting people in developing countries like India on to the internet for free through tie-ups with telcom operators.
The US-based company faced severe criticism over alleged violation of Net neutrality by Internet.org even as Facebook has continued to defend the initiative that offers free access to basic Internet services to consumers. India has over 8 lakh users under the Internet.org initiative.
Airtel was the first operator to launch this service in Zambia and later expanded it to three more African countries. It did not comment on a query sent in this regard. Through internet.org, mobile users can access websites available on the platform for free.
Facebook has 132 million users in India, trailing only the 193 million in the United States, according to the company, and the country is critical for the Menlo Park, California, social network's global expansion
Under its FbStart initiative that was started last year, the US-based firm has provided free tools and services worth USD 50 million to help developers in the Asia Pacific region.
A 1978 batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, Sharma is serving as Secretary of Department of Electronics and IT and has been selected as new chairman of the Trai for three years. He succeeds Rahul Khullar who retired on May 14.
Facebook Inc announced on Thursday it has completed building its first full-scale drone, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and will provide Internet access to the most remote parts of the world.
Facebook's project to spread Internet access to the developing world isn't just getting older - it's also targeting new telecommunications partners in hopes of connecting more people to the Web.
In a blog post released to mark the first year of the initiative, Facebook said it will open a portal allowing any mobile operator to offer the service under its Internet.org platform. Facebook currently partners with specific operators to launch the service in different countries.
The panel, led by Advisor for Technology A K Bhargava, has emphasised a consumer's right to Net Neutrality.
Facebook announced on Tuesday that "construction is going on and consists of three 250,000-sq ft buildings across the 111-acre site".
A DoT panel on net neutrality is learnt to have opposed projects like Facebook's Internet.org, which allow access to certain websites without mobile data charges, while suggesting that similar plans such as Airtel Zero be allowed with prior clearance from Trai.
"Our Connectivity Lab is developing a laser communications system that can beam data from the sky into communities. This will dramatically increase the speed of sending data over long distances," Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg today said on his social media page.
The social media giant confirmed to CNBC that it was testing the Android app in January, and was now rolling it out across countries in Asia, followed by parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe.
The app, called Facebook Lite, is available in countries across Asia and will soon make its way to parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe, Vijay Shankar, product manager for Facebook Lite, said in an interview.
Amidst the net neutrality debate, Facebook launches Internet.org platform which offers free access to basic internet services on mobile phones, as well as access to Facebook's own social network and messaging services.
Assocham said it supports a "special type" of net neutrality and wants TRAI to frame rules that support investments and policy objectives of the country.
In the press conference held Friday, telecom service providers said they do not want all applications to be brought under a licensing regime.