In the name of net neutrality, Wikipedia ends its zero-rated program

Wikipedia recently announced they would be discontinuing the Wikipedia Zero program, which in it s six years of existence helped over 800 million people in developing countries access the website for free. The program had provided people in 72 countries with access to the service, without it counting towards their data caps.

The countries who participated in the program, including India and Malaysia, had populations with high mobile phone use but low access to a data connection. In giving access to Wikipedia for free, the organization hoped to provide people throughout the world with access to knowledge. By doing so, it went against the values of net neutrality, which include not giving preferential treatment to one website over another (in this case, Wikipedia, since it was easier and free to access).

In a blog post, it was pointed out that usage of the program has been dropping off since 2016, which was attributed to a lack of knowledge that Wikipedia exists.

Canada, the United States and other more developed countries have different stakes than the countries the program targeted. Broadband companies in the US are trying to make it legal to throttle speeds on certain websites to hold them hostage for money, and Ajit Pai repealed the basic net neutrality rules.

But in the rest of the world the concept of net neutrality is more murky, and it's unclear whether this instance is a good thing in terms of net neutrality or a huge decrease of access to information.