MAKE A DIFFERENCE! LAST FEW HOURS OF NET NEUTRALITY
The next 24 hours mark a massive milestone in digital activism in India. The moment is upon us as ‘Save The Internet’ campaign crosses a record of million emails in. The mission has been trending with the hashtag #MillionMailMission to protect net neutrality.
But first, let’s quickly recap as to why net neutrality has been so hot on social media all these days.
The core question we must ask is, Why is net neutrality important for us?
Since the birth of the world wide web in the 90’s the Internet has been a phenomenal resource to many and is continuing to do so with the various services that help make day to day activities easier. These services called Over The Top (OTT) Service have in recent times Boomed for their quality yet simplistic service. For Example: Whatsapp, Viber, Snapchat..etc.
Under the current regulatory framework, consumers as in we the people can access the internet-based services and apps either for a low fee or for free where the application owners monetize by selling advertisements based on user data. With additional regulations and licenses imposed by the TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), it will become expensive for such services to reach out to their customers eventually leading to higher prices and undesirable levels of advertising – which is against the public interest and counterproductive.Not to mention it will kill Entrepreneurship and Innovation which has helped elevate our economy in recent years.Charging users an additional fee over and above the data charges to access specific internet services will result in higher costs which will dissuade people from using such services
Today, many websites, especially blogs, have hyperlinked content and users can switch from one website to another without having to worry about access or cost. But differential pricing will not provide such a seamless experience. Moreover, it tends to favor the larger firms with deep pockets, essentially not providing a level-playing field.
Telecom firms have had a very interesting perspective, its arguable that these OTT’S are consuming a huge revenue of the telecom giants as there is no solid proof that there revenues were hampered due to services like viber, skype etc.Coming towards 2015 the mobile operators are on the brink of disruption by the untamable and ubiquitous internet. Look at the penetration and popularity of WhatsApp.Telcos do benefit from the apps that piggyback on them. More app usage means more data consumed and more money inflow. Whether telcos are really aggrieved or not is debatable.
One must realise that Telecom firms and internet services have distinct functions. The former has to provide the infrastructure to access content and the latter has to provide the platforms for users to create content. As financial results of the telecom operators and analysis by various independent agencies have shown that revenues from data are soaring. So, it makes logical sense for the telecom operators to invest to upgrade and improve their network infrastructure.
Net neutrality, is now an important part for us. After all, Tim Berners-Lee who invented the Internet had opened this platform to each and everyone and not just for few companies or a selective group of persons. Unfortunately, few telecom companies wants to seize away these rights which is not ethically correct to the public to pay more for faster Internet speed to a particular site or services.
So this 24th April lets hope to win this battle and have free internet and TRAI takes a long term view towards this issue and supports net neutrality. So lets support the cause and care about this issue, please do go to www.savetheinternet.in and send a mail to TRAI.