Internet.org, net neutrality not in conflict – Zuckerberg
MANILA, Philippines – Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded Friday to news that a number of Indian companies had pulled away from Internet.org, an initiative which aims to improve Internet access in a number of countries, including the Philippines and Indonesia.
The companies – Cleartrip, NDTV, Newshunt and the Times Group – claim that Internet.org and net neutrality were in conflict with each other. The companies left Internet.org so as not to charge different rates for different types of data on the Internet and uphold net neutrality.
Zuckerberg responded in a Facebook post, saying that "net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist."
"To give more people access to the Internet, it is useful to offer some service for free," Zuckerberg explained. "If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all."
Zuckerberg also said that Internet.org is not in the business of blocking or throttling services or creating fast lanes for service.
He added, "Arguments about net neutrality shouldn’t be used to prevent the most disadvantaged people in society from gaining access or to deprive people of opportunity. Eliminating programs that bring more people online won’t increase social inclusion or close the digital divide. It will only deprive all of us of the ideas and contributions of the two-thirds of the world who are not connected."