The Indian government has set up a committee to deliver a set of Net Neutrality rules.
The government could disallow controversial ‘zero rating’ plans floated by companies in its final policy on net neutrality but could make an exemption for delivery of essential government services such as education and health on a preferential basis.
The debate over Net Neutrality has been raging in India over the last few months. While most of the focus in the US has been on preventing blocking and discrimination, the Indian debate includes the topic of Zero rating. This is very relevant in India as both local Operators such as Bharti Airtel (here) and Internet giants such as Facebook (here) utilize forms of Zero rating. Zero rating was less prevalent in the US Net Neutrality debate as the practice of zero rating is more common in emerging markets. The debate over Net Neutrality and zero rating in India could set a precedent for how emerging markets legislate Net Neutrality. The US regulations are more likely to be adopted European and other mature markets.
The practice of zero rating means that the customer (subscriber) is not charged for data used by a particular service or app. It is often the case when operators offer bundled apps/service such as music with their data offerings. Bharti Airtel recently launched their own platform for developers to create zero rated apps (here).
Facebook’s Intern.org platform will come under close scrutiny in this debate too which may also have an impact on it continued roll-out across emerging markets. Facebook’s Internet.org platform has come under fire from a few directions of late and the company issued a response yesterday the Internet.org site titled “Internet.org: Myths and Facts” (here)
More Here (ET India)