GoGo, Chevrolet Partner for Free Facebook in Flight

Gogo, the provider of inflight Wi-Fi for airplane passengers, is partnering with Chevrolet to offer passengers free access to Facebook, using Gogo, on select Gogo-equipped flights through July 20, 2014.

To reiterate, Gogo is going to offer no-cost access to Facebook on Gogo-equipped aircraft, subsidized by Chevrolet advertising. That is an example of “sponsored data,” similar in concept to toll-free calls, over the air TV and over the air radio.

It also is a concept similar to “free Facebook access” offered in some countries by some mobile service providers. Under those programs, users are allowed to use Facebook without having to buy a mobile data plan.

If it hasn’t already occurred to you, those examples do not “treat all apps equally.” The value for end users is precisely that all apps are treated differentially; that people can use Facebook in flight for no charge, even if other apps are unavailable.

Sometimes, the value of Internet access is provided by access to all lawful apps.

In this case, the value is access to a popular app in a setting where no Internet access has been available before, at no charge to the users.

As examples continue to proliferate, it will become increasingly clear that “treating all apps equally” prevents innovation that delivers value to Internet users.
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