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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mozilla – Equal Rating - FreeBasics loses out to Telenor Free in Myanmar study

Blog – Equal Rating: "Respondents pursue sophisticated data-cost management strategies that include using multiple SIMs, switching carriers for promotions, and using zero-rated services to access content for which they would otherwise pay. Several respondents use Free Basics regularly to manage data expenses by using free Messenger exclusively or limiting certain Facebook activity to free mode.

Some Telenor Free users continue browsing Facebook by switching to MPT Free Basics after exhausting their daily free data cap on Telenor.

4. Contrasting user experience and content lead to different uses across zero-rated content promotions

In contrast to Free Basics, all respondents who tried Telenor Free continue to use it, and several have switched to Telenor from MPT for the new promotion. Users emphasize the appeal of free full-feature Facebook, and this content leads nearly all users to increase data consumption. Notably, several rural users began watching video for the first time on the promotion, and now use their entire free 150MB allotment each day." 'via Blog this'

Mozilla – Equal Rating Research in Peru - zero rating used by young well-resourced not first-timers

Blog – Equal Rating: "Research findings show that respondents’ understanding of the internet is not conditioned by zero rating promotions. Indeed, most respondents are unaware whether they have or use plans with subsidized data. Most respondents have already learned about the internet before using mobile data, as their first contact with the internet was primarily through computers.

In other words, zero rated services did not serve to bring non-users online for the first time.

However, users’ understanding of the internet is not only affected by their means of access and first exposure, but also their education level, and age. Respondents who have recently begun using the internet place greater emphasis on the negative aspects and hazards that come with use." 'via Blog this'

Wikimedia's #zerowashing - the reality is less than the hype

Wikimedia is in general a "good thing" - or at least the Wikipedia project is, even if the foundation's staff has grown from 3 to 280 salaried employees. But Wikipedia has been seized upon by #FreeBasics to argue for zero rating in general being good - a much less clear prospect given it is supping with Facebook, without a long spoon. As will be well known to readers of this blog, I favour non-exclusive zero rating as a short-term exception to net neutrality.
Wikimedia "works to expand free and open access to knowledge everywhere, including areas where affordable access to the internet is a fundamental barrier" which means zero rating where otherwise access is very expensive and very slow So it is the no-graphics versions that it agrees to zero rate with local telecoms operators - either mobile or zero sites. It claimed in February 2016 that as a result "more than 600 million people in 64 countries can read, edit, and contribute to Wikipedia through Wikipedia Zero partnerships".
What does that mean in practice for the global zero rating story?
There are 65 Wikimedia agreements in place, across a rather smaller number of countries. 41 are with Caribbean operators Digicel and Flow, in notoriously expensive data nations. I presume the expired agreements are not included - such as with Saudi, India, Russia. Orange is also not included, though trumpeted in 2012.
Of the 24 agreements in larger nations, only 6 were made in 2016-17 - so this is now a historic interest. The single 2017 name that jumps out is Nigeria - why is a nation of 200m people in need of a specific agreement with a specific operator? Answers please! The same very much applies to Thailand, though signed in the first rush in 2012.
Chile famously banned #zerorating from 2012 - though Wikimedia claims it received positive answers to excepting Wikipedia in 2014 (not confirmed by government). It is also not in the Table.
Other nations are either very under-developed in mobile data (Mongolia, Myanmar, East Timor), some due to allied bombing (Afghanistan, Iraq), historically under-developed EU (Serbia, Moldova, Montenegro, Kosovo, the former pair via Telenor), or very poor indeed (several Stans).
But some are blatantly anti-competitive - 2 in Morocco, 2 in Angola, 1 in Tunisia,  Ghana, Jordan, Peru, Rwanda, some of these countries with extreme net neutrality breaches.
Of course, that's only a small part of the story - even with Nigeria, Thailand and those blatant examples, the number of subscribers is much less than the 600m
claimed. The real story lies in FreeBasics and its deals in everywhere except India - especially in Latin America and Africa. More research into the numbers needed, please!

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Apple's Real Reason for Finally Joining the Net Neutrality Fight | WIRED

Apple's Real Reason for Finally Joining the Net Neutrality Fight | WIRED: "The real significance of Apple's filing is what it says about the company's future. The company has long aspired to be more than just a hardware company, and now that Apple is in the streaming video business, net neutrality will become increasingly important to the company's bottom line. Apple... reportedly plans to spend $1 billion to produce even more content. If companies like AT&T and Verizon can hobble Apple's streams while boosting their own, it could be a real problem for Cupertino's video (and revenue) ambitions." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Annual country reports on open internet from national regulators - 2017 | Digital Single Market

Annual country reports on open internet from national regulators - 2017 | Digital Single Market: "Annual reports of the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) on compliance with the provisions on open internet in their respective countries.

Today the Commission makes available on its website annual country reports from national regulators on open internet.

The reports were prepared by the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) and sent to the Commission and BEREC.

[Note - Germany and Sweden detail infringement proceedings in English - others are problematic unless you read Slovenian, Hungarian and Dutch]

They cover the first 12 months after the open internet rules became applicable on 30 April 2016.

The reports will serve as a basis for BEREC's Report on the implementation of the net neutrality rules expected by the end of the year. The reports will also be used by the Commission in the next Europe's Digital Progress Report in 2018." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

'It's digital colonialism': how Facebook's free internet service has failed its users | Technology | The Guardian

'It's digital colonialism': how Facebook's free internet service has failed its users | Technology | The Guardian: "Whatever Facebook’s true goal, Free Basics offers the company another treasure trove of data: all user activities within the app are channeled through Facebook’s servers. This means Facebook can tell which third-party sites users are looking at, when and for how long.


Free Basics collects metadata relating to browsing activity. “The program has created substantial new avenues for Facebook to gather data about the habits and interests of users in countries where they aspire to have a strong presence, as more users come online,” said Global Voices.

 In spite of its shortcomings, Free Basics has grown rapidly and, according to Facebook, is used by 50m people. However, it’s mostly used by people who want to extend their mobile data package for free as opposed to connecting those who previously didn’t have access to the internet – an audience Facebook has repeatedly stated it is trying to reach.

 “It is not a great approach for bringing people online, but it’s really good at saving costs for people already online,” said Dhanaraj Thakur, of the Alliance for Affordable Internet.

“The narrative Facebook is concerned with is about increasing access, but there’s a lack of empirical evidence. But that’s the whole point of the project!”

 Facebook refused to answer questions about how many people it had brought online for the first time, how it places content within the apps or how the company measures the success of the scheme. However, the company pointed out the report only looked at a few markets and that it is an open platform for which any content provider can adapt their services." 'via Blog this'

Friday, July 28, 2017

'It's digital colonialism': how Facebook's free internet service has failed its users: Guardian

'It's digital colonialism': how Facebook's free internet service has failed its users | Technology | The Guardian: "“The narrative Facebook is concerned with is about increasing access, but there’s a lack of empirical evidence. But that’s the whole point of the project!”

 Facebook refused to answer questions about how many people it had brought online for the first time, how it places content within the apps or how the company measures the success of the scheme. However, the company pointed out the report only looked at a few markets and that it is an open platform for which any content provider can adapt their services." 'via Blog this'