By Scott Wallsten
Published in The Hill on January 21, 2016
“I don’t always complain about companies giving things away for free. But when I do, it’s when they give free stuff to poor people.”
That might be how Dos Equis beer’s “Most Interesting Man in the World” would sum up the opposition to so-called “zero rating” — where content from selected websites does not count against data caps on a subscriber’s (typically wireless) broadband plan.
More accurately, and less glibly, some groups contend that programs like Facebook’s Free Basics violate net neutrality by treating content differently based on whether the site participates in the program. But the economics are clear: Giving people an additional option for accessing websites they value at a lower price — zero in this case — makes them better off.
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