Survey Suggests Widespread Support for Free Basics Across India

DELHI, December 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

- More Than 80% of Respondents Support Idea Of 'Free Access to a Set of Useful Websites on the Internet'  

- Overall, 86% of Respondents Support Free Basics When Presented With Arguments for and Against the Service 

A survey of more than 3000 people in India revealed overwhelming support in favor of allowing Free Basics to be offered across India.

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When given a basic neutral description of Free Basics ("Free Basics is a service offered on mobile devices that provides free access to a set of useful websites on the Internet"), more than four in five Indians (83%) say that they support allowing Free Basics to be offered in India. Without additional information, one in ten (11%) say they are unsure, and only 6% of all Indians say that they oppose allowing Free Basics in India. After hearing arguments in favor and opposed to the service, support increases further to 86%.

At the heart of the results was awareness of the importance of the Internet in shaping India's future. A majority (65%) of Indians agreed with the statement that, "A connected India is a stronger India and connecting more people makes India stronger, more informed, and more competitive in the world" and more than half support the Digital India initiative.

Commissioned by Facebook, David Binder Research conducted the survey in partnership with the Indian research firm Hansa Research.

Support for Free Basics strong across India 

More than half of respondents (56%) say it is convincing that access to the Internet "Is a human right and that Free Basics can help to bring Internet to all of India."

Three in five people support the inclusion of Wikipedia, news and sports, Facebook, and 70 other websites (61%); support allowing Free Basics users to access the Internet by purchasing a data pack (62%); support it being provided by Facebook (60%); and support allowing developers to create free versions of their websites (59%). None of these aspects is opposed by more than one in five Indians.

Support for Free Basics is highest among those who are already familiar with the Internet and have benefited from its use.

• Internet users: 93% support vs. 5% oppose.

• Residing in big cities: 95% support vs. 4% oppose.

• College graduates: 91% support vs. 6% oppose.

• Earning 40k+ rupees per month: 94% support vs. 2% oppose.

• Have heard a lot about Free Basics: 92% support vs. 2% oppose.

Within the survey, the arguments for Free Basics included:

  • Free Basics offers information about available jobs so people can learn about opportunities to work that are available to them.
  • Free Basics offers Internet for beginners, so everyone can experience the value of being connected.
  • Free Basics offers information about health and illnesses so that people will always be able to look up diagnoses and other information about their own health.
  • Free Basics users can choose at any time to access the full Internet by purchasing a data pack.
  • Free Basics is an open service that allows any developer to create a free version of their website.

Arguments against Free Basics not convincing to most 

When given additional information about the program and arguments against it, support for Free Basics increased to 86% with 6% opposed. Only 34% said that the claim that "Free Basics blocks access to most of the Internet for poor people" was convincing. The claim that "Free Basics does not protect its users (many of whom are new to the Internet) and will be exploited by the service" was viewed as convincing by only 37% of respondents.

Within the survey, the arguments against Free Basics included:

  • When the Internet is restricted, it means India is weaker. To be strong, the Internet should be free and open to everyone.
  • Free Basics is just a scam by Facebook to try to get more people to use their site. The only reason they care about people without Internet is because they want to make more money.
  • Free Basics creates a world with two types of Internet: one for rich people and one for poor people. It's important that everyone has access to the same Internet.
  • Free Basics has given Reliance a monopoly by partnering with them and no one else.
  • Free Basics does not protect its users, many of whom are new to the Internet and will be exploited by the service.

Survey methodology  

A national survey was conducted in November and December 2015 with a representative sample of 3,094 adult residents of India. The margin of error is 1.8%.

The survey was conducted door-to-door throughout the country of India. The sample reflects the full diversity of the regions and states of India, and was conducted with a full representation of large cities, small cities, towns, villages, and rural areas. The sample reflects the population of India with respect to age, gender, and other demographic variables.

About David Binder Research 

For over 25 years, David Binder Research has provided research and insight to political, government, and private sector clients. Our strength lies in our accurate results and our pioneering use of new research technologies. DBR has enjoyed a long-term ongoing partnership with President Barack Obama's White House, while other clients run the gamut from small non-profits and boutique associations to large corporations and multi-year political campaigns.

About Hansa Research  

Hansa Research is a full-service market research agency conducting market research in 77 countries globally with offices in India and US. It is the ONLY global market research agency headquartered in India. With research offices across India and the U.S., Hansa Research's infrastructure is comparable to the best in the industry, with offices in 21 major cities spread across India to enable nationwide coverage.

Media Contacts:
Umesh Kumar - Hansa Research
Seiji Carpenter - David Binder Research

SOURCE Hansa Research

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