Zero-rating – where carriers charge nothing or very little for the data used by specific apps and web services – is a threat to net neutrality, web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has warned.
The practice is becoming very popular, with mobile operators in particular making special offers that exempt services such as [company]Facebook[/company] and [company]Spotify[/company] from customers’ normal data caps. This steers users to those specific services and harms their rivals, whose traffic becomes much more expensive to the user.
Berners-Lee slammed zero-rating on Tuesday in a guest post on the blog of EU digital single market commissioner Andrus Ansip, who is a staunch supporter of net neutrality and is currently trying to get EU member states to agree to the strong net neutrality rules voted through by the European Parliament last year.
However, those rules don’t call out zero-rating, also known as positive price discrimination, as a net neutrality violation…
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