Monday, February 08, 2016

Indian Regulators Ban Zero-Rated Services

On February 8, 2016, India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority banned zero-rated services, such as Facebook’s “Free Basics” program, because they violate the concept of network neutrality by “shap[ing] the users’ Internet experience.” Free Basics offers access to a text-only version of Facebook and other news and health services in three dozen countries around the world.
In the United States, the legality of zero-rated services has been a topic of debate, especially since the FCC adopted its Open Internet Order in February 2015. FSF scholars have argued that zero-rated services offer more choices to consumers and can be particularly attractive to low-income consumers and/or individuals who would not have Internet access otherwise.  
For more on how zero-rated services can benefit consumers, see Daniel Lyon’s Perspectives from FSF Scholars entitled “Usage-Based Pricing, Zero-Rating, and the Future of Broadband Innovation,” Randolph May’s October 2015 blog, and my March 2015 blog.