Net neutrality is the major buzz word in India following the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which sets internet rules in the country, planning to do away with the concept. Major telecom companies are in favor of the government curbing every citizen’s right to online freedom and charge for using services such as Viber, Whatsapp, and Skype, to name a few.
To begin with, Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web said it was strictly designed as a neutral, creative and collaborative space. Without net neutrality, Indians residents will be forced to pay more to access their desired apps and websites or choose from free ones and remain at the mercy of ISP providers. This is what no one desires to happen, which is why it is important to join the fight for net neutrality, which can be done by logging it at http://www.savetheinternet.in. Alternatively, you can send an email to the TRAI at TRAI@firstname.lastname@example.org and join over 3 lakh other people in the cause to continue to use Whatsapp, Viber, Google and other websites for free.
Most people will agree that net neutrality is essential. It doesn’t take rocket science to decipher that big wigs like Google and Facebook would not have existed if the internet wasn’t neutral back in the 1990s. Ironically, it is these very companies, and many others, who are now collaborating with telecom operators to break the very fabric of the internet.
An expert panel is reportedly looking into the matter claims the government, with a report expected in May. For the most part, people are fighting to do away with the devious mindset of many who are looking to profit from what is undoubtedly a violation of the concept of net neutrality the world over. Bharti Airtel seem to be on the other side of the public with the launch of its ‘Airtel Zero’, an open marketing platform where some apps are available free while charges are borne by the app makers. This could lead to monopolization by a few big wigs that will eventually succeed in defeating smaller companies. Joining Bharti Airtel’s moves are Reliance Communications and Uninor, who have jumped on the bandwagon to offer free usage to consumers in association with Whatsapp and Facebook, to name a few.
Several IT startups have cried foul over the intentions of companies such as Airtel and RCom, and for that matter even Facebook, who are launching schemes which restrict access to select platforms. Startups would end up having to pay the distributor to offer apps on their platform. The objective must be to allow equal access to information and services on the internet and not have a select few rule the roost. New eCommerce sites that can’t afford services like Airtel Zero would lose out on competition as consumers would naturally move towards sites like Amazon or Snapdeal and avoid data charges.
One of the companies to make a wise move is Flipkart who has stepped back following a major backlash after suggesting it would join Airtel’s Zero app platform. Flipkart recently announced its decision to pull out of its partnership with Bharti Airtel and said it remained committed to the larger cause of net neutrality in India. Users played a major role in their decision after they down rated Flipkart’s app on various app stores. Let’s hope the consumer wins this war on net neutrality which should have been a non-issue in the first place.