According to a new analysis by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Zero-rate internet plans of telecom operators should be welcomed, and not to be seen as a threat to net neutrality.
Zero-rate plans are those offerings that enable the consumers to access limited Internet content and services without it counting against their monthly smart phone data plans. Many countries objected the idea and has strictly restricted the telecom operators in offering zero-rate plans.
However, the report justifies its support to zero-rating plans through several arguments. According to the report, Zero rating is an economically efficient way to support innovation and it expands access to information, especially in developing countries. Also, ITIF believes that zero-rating will allow companies to differentiate their services, providing consumers more of what they desire. Efficiency of networks and advertising are also pointed out as the reasons to support zero-rating platforms.
“Those who argue zero rating is a ‘sneak attack’ on net neutrality are capitalizing on rigid abstractions and demagoguery to sway the FCC,” said Doug Brake, ITIF telecommunications policy analyst and the report’s author.
“Doing so turns a blind eye to the numerous benefits of zero-rating for consumers and competition alike. The FCC and its counterparts around the world should recognize these programs are in the public interest,” he said.
Brake also said that the customers who got introduced to a constrained version of applications will soon migrate to the full internet.
“Zero rating is a win for content providers, who see more use of their products and services,” said Brake. “It is a win for network operators, who are working to gain market share and explore new business models to meet growing demand.
“And most importantly, it is a big win for consumers, who end up getting more for less. Given the broad success of zero rating thus far, it is time to send a strong signal to innovators that this kind of program will not be obstructed by governments.”