Goodman, Ellen P. (2016). Zero rating broadband data: equality and free speech at the network's other edge. Colorado Technology Law Journal, 15(1), 63-92. Retrieved from https://doi.org/doi:10.7282/t3-f9mm-c885
AbstractWhen broadband providers "zero rate" data, they offer certain services or buckets of data for free without counting consumption against the user’s data caps. Depending on how these offers are structured, they be anti-competitive and violate net neutrality norms of open access. But they may also subsidize broadband access and increase expressive opportunities for users. Net neutrality theory has tended to focus on the free speech and economic inequality at the edge provider end of digital networks, positing that users have identical or derivative interests. The "virtuous cycle" of innovation at the heart of U.S. open networks policy starts and ends at the provider edge of the network. This conception of innovation overlooks digital divide issues and user economic constraint. Especially as customers of speech platforms, such as social media or video sharing sites, users may have interests that diverge from those of edge providers. Because some zero rating practices benefit users at the consumer edge of the network, blanket bans can have a regressive effect, especially where the risk of competitive harm to edge providers is relatively small. By the same token, zero rating should not be permitted where broadband platform self-dealing and other practices pose substantial risk of competitive harm and minimal increase in expressive opportunities for users.
SubjectsNet neutrality, Zero rating, Free speech, Digital divide, Edge providers, Broadband
RightsCopyright for scholarly resources published in RUcore is retained by the copyright holder. By virtue of its appearance in this open access medium, you are free to use this resource, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Other uses, such as reproduction or republication, may require the permission of the copyright holder.