On net neutrality

The net neutrality debate has picked up in India based on “zero-rating” or the idea that a service could be provided where the user didn’t pay for the data. I have long wondered how organizations like Facebook, Google, Wikimedia, and others could support net neutrality aggressively in the US and provide “zero-rated” services.

As someone who has worked on the issue on and off since 2008, I have been struck by how the terms of the debate shift. So I wrote a piece for the Takshashila Institution that tries to give the debate more an analytic framework that explains why it is happening now, what the challenges that its trying to address, and what the uncertainties are.

Ultimately, while I have some sympathies for the values of net neutrality but worry about a lot of the details. That’s why I tend to like the ideas that Google and Verizon negotiated in 2010. However, I recognize that in many ways, they don’t apply to the Indian context.