Zuckerberg breaks the ice on the ongoing net neutrality debate in India at a Townhall Q&A held at IIT-Delhi: “Facebook supports all principles of net neutrality, even though countries are still working on developing a standard rule”.
He further states that internet can be expensive for carriers, and that Facebook is trying to offer low-bandwidth services under the controversial Free Basics zero-rating platform. The only setback is that Facebook won’t be able to provide the whole internet for free, adds Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg dubs Free Basics as a ‘discovery platform’ that helps people connect to the internet for free. He also shared statistics about the platform: “For every 10 people that get access to internet, 1 job is created 1 person is lifted out of poverty.” [Not sure from where he sourced these numbers]
Zuckerberg Explains More About Facebook’s Stance on NN
According to Zuckerberg, the Internet.org project has connected 15 million people from around the world in 24 countries. “India is one of the countries where you cannot connect the world without connecting India,” he states.
He maintains that some proponents of net neutrality say there should be no free access, and that the debate over the Neutrality regulations are still on-going.
“Operators can hurt customers by levying extra charges for OTT services or prioritize bandwidth for websites, which violates Net neutrality rules. We have built an open platform with no filtering; and will continue to push for access. Most people who file petitions against Internet.org already have access to the internet. What about the ones who support Free Basics but have no access to internet? How will they sign petitions online without internet?,” Zuckerberg explains when asked about his stance on NN.