Less than Zero — Backchannel — Medium

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 6.07.56 PM

A concept well worth reflecting on: when is “free” not neutral? This article goes through the ins and outs of what it really means when carriers exempt certain apps from data charges, and not others. What do “net neutrality” rules have to look like to be meaningful and not a  commercially manipulative sham? Read more here: Less than Zero — Backchannel — Medium.


2 responses to “Less than Zero — Backchannel — Medium”

  1. Ryan Vogt

    One important point about mobile carriers (and equally ISPs) is that they are nothing but the “last mile” — the last connection between the consumer and the rest of the Internet. It doesn’t matter, in terms of their costs, where the data comes from before it reaches the consumer (setting aside caching techniques to reduce, from the carrier’s point of view, downstream data usage from the Internet to the carrier).

    In the article, Facebook was given as an example of a website that might be zero-rated. So, I decided to do a little comparison.

    – A single load of my Facebook news feed took ~7.4 MB of data;
    – A single load of CBC News (let’s be blunt: of much higher cultural value than my Facebook news feed — sorry friends) took ~2.3 MB of data; and,
    – A single load of the very article linked in this post took ~2.7 MB of data.

    So, what possible reason could carriers have to zero-rate Facebook, but not other services that use on the order of 1/3 as much data? The only reason I can think of is that someone would be paying the carriers to do so, because it’s not in their innate interest (in terms of data usage costs) to do so. So yes, I feel this practice flies in the face of net neutrality.

  2. Ryan Vogt

    As a follow-up to my previous comment, the CRTC recently ruled against Bell on this exact issue (Mobile TV not counting against data usage). See Dr. Geist’s analysis on the ruling here: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/2015/01/crtc-rules-bells-mobile-tv-service-violates-telecommunications-act-fast-lanes-slow-lanes/

Leave a Reply