Towards a Developmental Framework for Net Neutrality: The Rise of Sponsored Data Plans in Developing Countries
25 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2014 Last revised: 6 Sep 2015
Date Written: March 31, 2014
Academic research has been paying little attention to the net neutrality debate in developing countries, where large content providers such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have long been executing agreements with local mobile ISPs for prioritized or subsidized data delivery for their customers. Thus, the goal of this paper is to assess the potential consequences of these business arrangements for the IT industry in these countries. Our hypothesis is that these agreements may actually lead to unintended effects for the expansion of the mobile sector in developing countries, as they may empower market concentration, restrict local innovation and reduce user choices. In order to overcome these consequences, a net neutrality rule could play an instrumental role in fostering the innovation sector in developing countries, without resorting to protectionist policies.
Keywords: Net Neutrality, Development, Law & Development, Sponsored Data Plans, Zero-Rating, Dependency Theory, Empirical Research, Cyberlaw
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