Teaching Kit: Zero Rating in India


I’m building a teaching kit for zero-rating with focus on India. As @jlaprise suggested below, this teaching kit has two parts one for those who have access to the Internet and one for those who’ve never had tasted Internet.

Draft ideas (subject to change):
For Internet users

  • Start with the various definitions various people give to zero-rating (possible activity: make people think of economically viable business plans where they sell vegetables for free)
  • Avoid analogies, start from fundamental principles and build up (possible activity: display some analogies that seem perfect, but breakdown quite easily)
  • Spectrum, spectrum scarcity, spectrum auction, and newer technologies using/not using spectrum
  • Introduce various zero rating plans, in India and world over.
  • Discuss pros and cons of various zero rating schemes (possible activity: separate pros and cons into 4 sections - short/long term x gains/losses)
  • Discuss Mozilla’s stance and equal rating

Learning assessment:

  • Can participants differentiate zero rating from unlimited Internet?
  • Can participants find out similarities or differences between zero rating and differential pricing?
  • How does the participant respond to “some Internet is better than no Internet”?

For Internet virgins

  • Explain how and why Internet is a fundamental right in many countries, that it is like air, water, and sunlight.
  • Explain how by the end of 21st century 5 billion people are expected to be on the Internet and how everything will be easier due to Internet services
  • Ask them the tasks they do everyday and demonstrate some tasks that can be done online (mobile recharge, banking, aadhaar card, etc.)
  • Tell them how “free” is never free (they’ll already know) and how non-neutrality can lead to higher prices for Internet
  • Make them write down 10 things they can do with Internet.

Learning assessment

  • Does the participant appreciate the importance or usefullness of the Internet. How willing are they to spend a significant portion of their income on Internet
  • Are they willing to pay less for a small part of the Internet vs paying slightly more for the entire Internet

Related teaching kits:

The kits:

Teaching Kits: Overview

How does this work with participants who don’t have Internet access at present?


Oh, I didn’t think of those people. The audience I had in mind was the usual attendees of Mozilla events - college students and the like.

Very nice point though. I’ll update the draft with a separate section on how to deal with people who’ve never used the Internet.


This is exactly why I support zero rating. For people without access, any access even a walled garden is better than nothing. No amount of explaining is going to convince them that they should either forgo limited access and wait for full access. Once they get online, even in a zero rating environment, there are so many activists and that in the course of their education about the Internet they will come to see the walls. If they think that it’s important enough to escape them, they will. I’m dubious that users in a walled garden can be kept ignorant, given the nature of the Internet.


Zero Rating and Net Neutrality

“Tell them how “free” is never free (they’ll already know) and how non-neutrality can lead to higher prices for Internet”

That might be true but put yourself in their shoes. You have no Internet now. FB offers you “free” Internet but you might not be able to afford regular full Internet access. Yes, getting free access may result in higher prices but you can’t afford those anyway. As long as it’s free, it’s better than nothing. In fact, you’ve just heard about all the great things you can do with Internet access. Why wouldn’t I want it for free? Someone will be paying higher prices but not me.

“Are they willing to pay less for a small part of the Internet vs paying slightly more for the entire Internet”

That depends. Does the “small” (this is a problematic term in and of itself. How small is it? What services/websites are available?) part meet their immediate needs? Can they actually afford to pay anything for Internet access? The claim of the “entire Internet” is also problematic. The Indian government filters content so essentially access is the difference between a walled garden within a second walled garden or the area of the second walled garden. The “entire Internet” claim is not true and down the road, as users gain experience and knowledge they will realize this. I don’t wan’t them coming back and feeling manipulated by a hyperbolic deception. Fundamentally, it depends on their needs.

Zero Rating and Net Neutrality

@jlaprise I appreciate your concern. But the teaching kit is consistent with Mozilla’s stance on zero-rating and therefore I’ve replied to your comments in the other thread where zero-rating itself is discussed.


I’m done drafting the first kit: Zero Rating Teaching Kit (for Internet users)