No Internet for Poor People: The Zero Access Country Club

    Zero rating is the practice of mobile providers, ISPs or content sites that make specific applications or services available to users for free or without counting against a user’s data cap. In order to make the Internet accessible to the billions of mostly poor people around the globe who are still not online many companies are “zero rating” Internet access to offer consumers a stripped down version of the Internet for free. For the “net neutrality” priesthood in the U.S. however, no Internet access for the poor is apparently better than even some access. They have directed their moral outrage, public relations expertise and substantial funding to attack zero rating initiatives that get more people online — most recently stopping the service from being offered in India — a country with one of the lowest Internet penetration rates in Asia.

    Recently, we conducted an interesting analysis of the most vocal anti-zero rating Internet elites in the U.S. — academics, venture capitalists, and technology leaders. These elites largely live in the top median zip codes in the U.S., communities in which the median income is on average 60 times that of the typical income in a country like India. They say that zero rating initiatives are “poor Internet for poor people.” We say that what their outrage over zero rating really amounts to is NO INTERNET FOR POOR PEOPLE.

    After all, ideological purity is easy when it doesn’t cost you anything…

    Click the graphic below for or to learn more about zero rating, click here for our recent op-ed on the issue.