A billion Internet users just won big
India’s new Net Neutrality protections only happened because tens of thousands of Internet users spoke out.
Last year more than 60,000 Internet users joined our campaign to stand up for Net Neutrality and oppose Facebook’s scheme to make itself the Internet gatekeeper for citizens in developing countries.
And today I have some great news: Internet users in India have spoken out and their regulator has now banned Facebook’s “Free Basics,” as well as the closely-related, unfair billing gimmick called zero-rating.
India is the world’s most populous democracy, with over a billion people, many of whom are still unconnected to the real, open Internet.
So it was a big deal when the Indian telecom regulator, the TRAI, announced their decision this week to ban “zero-rating,” a controversial billing gimmick where telecom providers pick and choose the winners and losers of the net by making some services more expensive than others.
India’s new rules effectively kill Facebook’s unpopular “Free Basics” (formerly Internet.org) service.
As you may recall,Free Basics is a Net Neutrality-violating program that would have positioned Facebook as the de facto gatekeeper for Internet access amongst India’s unconnected users.
Last year, we launched our No Fake Internet campaign pressuring Facebook to fix its Free Basics program to comply with the Net Neutrality principles that underpin the open web.
With your help, we ran a giant billboard in their backyard, amplified over 60,000 voices, teamed up with partner groups on a hard-hitting open letter, and wrote our own letter, outlining the demands of our community of advocates and experts, which Facebook still has yet to respond to.
India’s new Net Neutrality protections only happened because tens of thousands of others worldwide supported the grassroots efforts of the SavetheInternet.in coalition, Indian civil society groups, and many others, including OpenMedia.
In the end, it’s a simple theory of change that works again and again: when enough of us raise our voices, we win.
Net Neutrality is still threatened around the world, in places where many of our favourite websites live. We believe that all data should be treated equally, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this basic principle of fairness is the foundation of the open Internet.
When you put them under the microscope, big wins like this one almost always come from a sustained series of hard work and smaller victories. And you can make a real difference by taking action, raising hell, and helping us keep up the momentum from this big win for the open web.
We all deserve access to the real open Internet.Stand with people around the world demanding that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg stops restricting access to the open Internet and and instead invest in broadening access to the real Internet we know and love.