UCT CS Research Document Archive

On the Free Bridge Across the Digital Divide: Assessing the Quality of Facebook’s Free Basics Service

Sen, Rijurekha, Hasnain Ali Pirzada, Amreesh Phokeer, Zaid Ahmed Farooq, Satadal Sengupta, David Choffnes and Krishna P. Gummadi (2016) On the Free Bridge Across the Digital Divide: Assessing the Quality of Facebook’s Free Basics Service. In Proceedings 2016 Internet Measurement Conference (ACM IMC 2016), pages 127-133, Santa Monica, California, USA.

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Abstract

Free Basics is an initiative backed by Facebook to provide users in developing countries free mobile Internet access to selected services. Despite its wide-spread deployment and its potential impact on bridging the digital divide, to date, few studies have rigorously measured the quality of the free Internet service offered by Free Basics. In this short paper, we characterize the quality of the Free Basics service offered in Pakistan and South Africa along three dimensions: (i) the selection of accessible Web services, (ii) the functionality of those services, and (iii) the network performance for those services. While preliminary, our findings show that data-driven studies are essential for having more informed public debates on the pros and cons of the current design of the Free Basics service.

EPrint Type:Conference Paper
Subjects:C Computer Systems Organization: C.2 COMPUTER-COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
ID Code:1159
Deposited By:Lamola, M.M
Deposited On:17 Febuary 2017