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There Is Nothing Called Free Internet. Internet.org Is A Bane

Internet org

Internet.org has launched in Bangladesh today in collaboration with Robi Axiata Limited. As it happens all the time, it received lauded reception from news companies. Majority of headlines said, free internet from facebook. That’s bullshit. Internet.org does not offer free internet, what it offers is a marketing hoax and corporate surveillance and it is killing net neutrality.

Internet.org was about to launch in Bangladesh last month but could not due to several reasons it got delayed. Here is our coverage of the service from last month. We reported it was a service to browse selected websites; of course it starts with Facebook.

Internet.org has been on fire since its launch in few countries including India. In response to Internet.org’s discrimination in treating carriers Indian investor Mahesh Murthy wrote an article titled ‘Poor internet for poor people: Why Facebook’s Internet.org amounts to economic racism’ that received huge attention and caused subsequent pull out from the services by many associated companies in India. You can read Quartz version of the article here.

In Bangladesh the scenario is no different. The service partnered with Robi Axiata Limited, which although apparently looks like for a social good but it is nothing more than an incentivized agreement as several report says. The service only let you use 10-15 websites for free and these websites somehow managed it to be in connection with Facebook.

In India many major telecom players came out of the service on the wake of net neutrality question and there is an ongoing global uproar against the service. Open Media reports Facebook is blocking 3 billion soon-to-be Internet users from the REAL web.

In Bangladesh we don’t need ‘so called Free Internet’, we need internet that maintains the idea of net neutrality and does not bare one from experiencing the web just because s/he can’t afford internet.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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