Zero-Rating: Digital Rights Challenges in the Developing World
According to the latest World Bank report “Digital Dividends” 60 percent of the world are still offline. While it is certain that providing more people with access to the Internet is one of the core challenges for developing countries, the right approach to achieve this goal remains unclear. The recent controversy over Facebook’s Free Basics initiative in India demonstrates that international decision-makers in development cooperation need to carefully consider the options. While some regard zero-rating as a way to give poor and underserved communities at least limited access to some digital services, others see it as a threat to a free and open Internet.
The impulse by Lea Gimpel and Cathleen Berger analyzes zero-rating from a perspective of international development organizations and digital rights.