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Friday, April 1 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zero Rating: “Access for all” Or Curbing Freedom of Expression?

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According to ITU 2015 report, globally 3.2 billion people are using the Internet by end 2015, of which 2 billion are from developing countries. However, 4 billion people from developing countries remain offline, representing 2/3 of the population residing in developing countries. It is crucial to an increasingly global economy to bridge this vast digital divide by connecting the billions of people now without a voice. And, at first glance, organizations like Facebook’s Internet.org or Free Basics seem to strive to do just that. To date, their service has provided free access to a handful of cherry­picked web applications to thousands of users in parts of Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
However, there are debates going around that zero rating could harm competition in Internet Access Market and reduce diversity inexpression, due to the preference by the mobile operators for some content providers vs. others. This will also affect startups that are providing content services to grow and also suppress users’ freedom of choice of selecting services. It will be in form of debate that involve regulators from developed and developing countries, international organizations, representatives from academia, technical organizations and private sector. The focus will be on case studies and on the discussion of the specific characteristics of the markets in which these practices are used (two sided markets, modularity, high degree of market innovation) and on the evaluation of the case­by­case approach to zero rating suggested by some regulators. It will discuss also, whether competitive market forces would provide sufficient safeguards and how zero rating, by helping in designing better Internet adoption policies, could make more open and inclusive the Internet governance process.

avatar for Pranesh Prakash

Pranesh Prakash

Policy Director, Centre for Internet and Society
Pranesh Prakash is a Policy Director at — and was part of the founding team of — the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based non-profit that engages in research and policy advocacy. He is also the Legal Lead at Creative Commons India and an Affiliated Fellow at the Yale Law School's Information Society Project (formerly an A2K Fellow there), and has been on the Executive Committee of the NCUC at ICANN. In 2014 he was selected by... Read More →
avatar for Ritu Srivastava

Ritu Srivastava

Senior Programme Manager, Digital Empowerment Foundation
I am working with Digital Empowerment Foundation as Senior Programme Manager. Having experience in FoE, open spectrum; and gender and access issues.

Friday April 1, 2016 4:00pm - 5:00pm
The Nest

Attendees (48)