I guess we are used to hearing the old adage ‘All men are Equal’ but in practical terms we tend to follow ‘Some are more equal than others’. So it is no surprise that the principle in treating all internet traffic equally is at threat now. Net neutrality is an absolute must for any innovation and allowing the consumer to make an informed choice. And in one way or the other consumers have made a choice on this issue also judging by the no of responses received by TRAI on this subject. Flipkart has also realised this by withdrawing themselves from the Airtel Zero services and soon it will dawn on all the ISPs that you can’t bite the hand that feeds you. Open internet today in a democratic country like ours is no different from having freedom to breathe air in an open space without any restrictions. In a country like ours with millions of internet users we are already struggling and jostling for bandwidth. Internet based services, apps as well as using internet as sales, delivery and payment platform is the future. By charging the end consumers for using these apps will discourage them from using these services at all, which will only bring technology and innovation to ground zero. We have enough instances of bullying by the Government and political bodies on how the internet must be used and don’t want to give the right to any service provider to decide what information needs to be accessed. The ISPs are also looking at differential pricing for accessing data and internet services but their revenue realisation should come from data volume and not from the differentiation of which internet services are used. Lastly, internet alone has contributed to brilliant innovations, ideas and business models which has not only led to consumer delight but also contributed in one way or the other in country’s development. Most of these have come from small start-ups and not from the traditional giants in the industry. These small ventures will not have the financial muscle to sign up for ‘Zero services” with the Telcos till the time they grow to the size of a Flipkart, thereby killing the idea in its bud. Having said all this, once again thanks to internet, we are all aware of our right to freedom of choice and expression and at the end of the day, the consumer will ensure net neutrality prevails in the long run.
- Replies from GajShield on ‘Net Neutrality’ by Mr. Sonit Jain, CEO at GajShield
- Replies from ADATA on ‘Net Neutrality’ by Mr. Richard Tan, MD & Director, ADATA Technology India Pvt Ltd