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Zero Rating Is The Free Sample In The Internet Ice Cream Store

 |  July 7, 2023

By: Roslyn Layton (Pro Market)

In the 1950s, the European Economic Community made a decision to exempt essential items such as food, medicines, books, and wheelchairs from taxation, a practice known as zero rating. This exemption was initially implemented after World War II.

Today, the concept of zero rating continues to be relevant, as demonstrated by the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Video Connect program. This program was established during the pandemic to enable around 3 million US veterans to connect with caregivers through computers, tablets, or mobile devices without incurring data charges. Similar zero-rated e-government and public interest programs exist to assist Americans in various areas. These programs include facilitating access to housing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, offering workforce training and credentialing through state and federal workforce sites, enabling benefits application and health monitoring through the Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments, and providing access to early learning and child development services through the Department of Education.

However, in the European Union, such beneficial social programs are deemed illegal under strict net neutrality regulations. Ironically, these regulations intended to protect end users’ rights prevented them from accessing free healthcare and education services online during the pandemic. After considerable time and effort, the UK telecom regulator Ofcom suspended these rules and is now working on modernizing the policy to allow for the provision of beneficial services…