Net Neutrality pressure forces Facebook to open up internet.org

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facebook_internet.orgThe net neutrality pressure in the 1.3 billion people market called India is yielding some interesting results. Facebook announced today a loosening up of internet.org to let “anyone” provide zero rated content via the platform. Developers, says Facebook, will be able to create services that integrate with Internet.org.

Our first reaction was to doubt Facebook’s sincerity especially as they are only responding to pressure that threatened their gateway drug initiative with operators. We also weren’t too happy that they are still defining the terms of partnership, and therefore remaining a gatekeeper of sorts. But it’s too early to judge. And Facebook has made the participation & technical guidelines available so anyone can create a service that complies.

If you’re a developer, here are the 3 things you need to mind:

  • Services should encourage the exploration of the broader internet wherever possible. Operators are interested in lots of paid traffic and seems this is a demand they likely made.
  • Services should not use VoIP, video, file transfer, high resolution photos, or high volume of photos.
  • Services can’t require JavaScript or SSL/TLS/HTTPS. In short they need to be built for feature phones.

These requirements seem to have been structured with the input of operators as without that Facebook would surely be facing an uphill battle of selling internet.org to this group. Operators also see how internet content is getting richer and more demanding of bandwidth everyday, what with all the video shared via WhatsApp. Also good to remember that operators, here in Zimbabwe even, have been offering their own flavour of internet.org. Take Econet Zero and biNu for example.

image via: qz.com

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