Free internet key to digital economy innovation: World Bank

New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) An open and free internet is a key contributing factor to innovation in the digital economy, making it critical to protect this openness, says a World Bank report.

Regarding the ongoing discussion globally on net neutrality, the “World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends” said: “Care should be taken to ensure that users have the greatest possible access to internet-based content, applications, and services of their choice.”

Noting that “traffic management measures, while legitimate, should not reduce the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, particularly freedom of expression, it said the the “balance here should be carefully calibrated so that network operators continue to have incentives to build out and continuously improve networks and network capacity”.

“The recent trend to develop services in which some basic content can be accessed free of data charges (such as Facebook’s Free Basics or Internet. org), while other content is subject to data charges, would appear to be the antithesis of net neutrality and a distortion of markets,” it noted.

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