Facebook founder urges free Internet in India amid row

NEW DELHI: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg urged India Monday to approve a controversial plan that would provide a free Internet service to the poor, his latest bid amid an escalating row with authorities.

The head of the social network tried to drum up support for the Free Basics service that offers people without the Internet free access to a handful of websites through mobile phones, in a column in the largest-selling English daily The Times of India.

“If we accept that everyone deserves access to the Internet, then we must surely support free basic Internet services,” the chief executive wrote, comparing the Internet to a library, public health care and education.

“Surprisingly, over the last year there’s been a big debate about this in India,” he added.