‘Zero rating’ battle throws net neutrality in doubt: Geist

Zero rating and differential pricing would deal a serious blow to net neutrality, which guarantees the Internet treats all content in an equal manner. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)

The national regulator is holding hearings on network providers exempting certain content from data charges.


By Michael Geist – Technology, Law
Mon., July 4, 2016


Net neutrality emerged as a top Internet policy issue over 10 years ago as some service providers (ISPs) openly discussed creating a two-tier system with a fast lane for websites and applications willing to pay additional fees and a slow lane for everyone else. The companies maintained that consumers would benefit from the two-tier approach by gaining faster access to premium content.

Internet users and emerging technology companies banded together to oppose the approach, arguing that all traffic should be treated in an equal manner regardless of content, source, or destination. They noted that the two-tier approach could lead to unfair competition and an inability for start-up companies to challenge established players.

Internet users won the policy battle and years later net neutrality rules can be found worldwide. Indeed, the importance of an “open Internet” was recently affirmed by Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Development, who told an international conference that the economy depends upon it.

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