Monday, August 24, 2015

Google India: "strong protest" Against Including Zero Rating in Net Neutrality

Google, like other content providers, is traditionally in favor on Net Neutrality laws - see the US example - "FCC Expected to Adopt Net Neutrality this Quarter; Google Supports Neutrality" (here).

However, since the Indian regulator, TRAI is considering Zero-rating as "against the principles of Net Neutrality [see "India Planned Net Neutrality Laws" - here and "Airtel: The Internet, with Our Airtel Zero, is Neutral" - here], Google (and Facebook) seem to change sides.

Nikhil Pahwa reports to MEDIANAMA that "Google joined hands with Facebook to try and prevent the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents some of the largest Internet companies in India, from taking a stand that counters Zero Rating. 

According to emails exchanged between IAMAI’s Government Relations committee members, of which MediaNama has copies, Vineeta Dixit [pictured], a member of Google’s Public Policy and and Government Relations team, strongly pushed for the removal of any mention of Zero Rating from the IAMAI’s submission, as a response to the Department of Telecom’s report on Net Neutrality. Please note that Google hasn’t responded to our queries, despite multiple reminders.

..Dixit’s email to the IAMAI government relations committee, while reasoning that there is no consensus on Zero Rating, asked for its removal from the submission, saying: “We would like to register strong protest against this formulation and would request you to remove this (Zero Rating) from the submission.” Another email in that list indicates that only Facebook in the IAMAI has taken a stand supporting Zero Rating, and, funnily enough, STAR has taken positions both supporting and being non-committal on Zero Rating. This is a bizarre shift in STAR’s position, given that it had written to the TRAI saying that instead of telcos being paid for allowing Internet content (via Zero Rating), it should be telecom operators that pay content providers"/

See "Google joins Facebook in trying to prevent IAMAI from taking strong anti-Zero Rating stand" - here.

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