Amid the growing debate on Net neutrality vs zero rating programmes in India, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A session with users worldwide defended his company’s Internet.org programme.
Zuckerberg said that network operators shouldn’t “discriminate and limit access” to all services. However, on the implications of Internet.org for Net Neutrality, he said, “For people who are not on the internet though, having some connectivity and some ability to share is always much better than having no ability to connect and share at all. That’s why programs like Internet.org are important and can co-exist with net neutrality regulations.”
He added that the company is working with the governments and network operators who “are most excited about working with Internet.org to get everyone online in their countries.”
In India, Facebook partnered with Reliance Communications in February, to provide free internet to users, but only to a select list of websites and services.
As we had noted earlier, Facebook’s Internet.org, while no doubt a benevolent scheme for those who don’t have access to the web, is technically a violation of the principles of Net Neutrality, since it bifurcates the Internet in different kinds of services.
Zuckerberg has a point when he says that those who don’t have any access should be given Internet access free of cost, but the question remains whether such an offer will undermine Net Neutrality.