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Ncell Free Facebook offer and Net Neutrality?

From today, Ncell has started providing free Facebook to all of its customers through Facebook official apps. Ncell claims this is in line to their #internetforall campaign. This free Facebook offer is not actually free, as there are some conditions apply for the offer. Actually It seems good for all those customers who can give up any multimedia content viewing for the free offers. First lets find what are actually free and what are not in the offer. Then Lets have a close analysis of Ncell Free Facebook Offer, related to Net Neutrality.

The free Facebook is actually a text version of Facebook. It lets you view unlimited texts and upload photos for Facebook for free on Ncell network. You can also enjoy unlimited likes, shares and comments. For android phones, You need to switch on data in your phone, use official Facebook app and click on free mode. For other phones, you can even activate by dialing *17114# and get a link from SMS. From the link, you can activate the free mode on your phone.

Even if it says text free, the chat or messaging from messenger will need data packs. As the messenger application is separate to Facebook app and it may send or receive multimedia contents, it is known not to be free. Also the Facebook browsing other than the main applications and non proxy browsers, that is from proxy browsers is not free too. It is also not known to be available free from Facebook lite, a lighter version of Facebook application which is also official.

The free offer is valid for any Ncell prepaid or postpaid users. It will remain into effect for 90 days.

To view multimedia content in your Facebook or messenger, you have to purchase data packs. So this is not actually a fully free offer for Facebook. This is basically a partnership program of Facebook with operators to provide free basic internet to users. This sort of offer was also proposed in India by Facebook for some basic accessibility but the regulator rejected the idea due to their compliance with Net-neutrality. Net neutrality is a principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally. Online protest also forced them to do so for the violation of Net neutrality for fair and open internet and it discourages innovations. Facebook has also claimed their offer not to be violating net neutrality as any service provider can sign up for it. But India did not listen to their idea and till now such offer is not available there.

Nepal’s position for Net-Neutrality.

As per the free, fair and open internet policy, several countries have made firm stand for the Net neutrality. Nepal stance for the Net neutrality is not clear yet. Here free means no any intervention in the internet traffic, it does not relate to the price incurred for the internet usage. There are claims that Nepal also complies with the Net neutrality. But if it had complied, this sort of offer should not reach customers. Free Facebook and Free Twitter offers are totally violation of Net-Neutrality and it is there since long. This offer is just a improvisation of their free Facebook offer, which is not exactly free.

What is the effect of such free offers violating Net-neutrality?

Though there are huge appraisal of Free Facebook offer, the Net-neutrality campaigner have more to say on the offers, as it discourages innovation and startups.  Being a Giant, Facebook can provide free browsing for their applications but that will discourage the usage of other similar applications and platforms. This is totally against the free, fair and open internet that is to be brought by Net Neutrality principle. Many tech startups are now gearing up to protest against this sort of offer. Let’s see how well they fight to bring it down or to make the regulator listen about it.

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