Could Free Internet cost us a lot!
FCC’s Wheeler and President Obama may be genuinely concerned about net neutrality and the prospect of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes. While the threat may be very real, it may actually be coming from a direction that most people didn’t envisage. Wouldn’t free Internet free all be a good thing?
According to this article, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While the two have found common ground in seeing free Internet available to the masses, it would seem that there aims and motivations dramatically different. From the Interntet.org website”
Internet.org is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it.
Internet.org has recently announced an Innovation Challenge for India:
The Internet.org Innovation Challenge in India supports Internet.org’s vision of a connected world by recognizing those who are working to make the internet more relevant to women, students, farmers and migrant workers in India. Our goal with this challenge is to encourage the development of apps, websites and online services that provide real value for the members of these important communities.
The author goes on to claim that Internet.org creates a distortion in the “neutral zone” of the Internet. The author claims that “Internet.org isn’t about internet for all, but essentially about Facebook for all, along with a few non-profit services thrown in to give it the appearance of philanthropy, and maybe a few co-opted competitors to make it appear as if it isn’t about Facebook only.”
The gist of the rest of the article is that while some selected services are available for free, supported by generous revenue-sharing arrangements, other applications and content will have a price tag. Would you be prepared to pay for competing services when there are so-called “free Internet” alternatives available? Could this freedom result in greater barriers to entry and a stifling of innovation?