Does India Need Net Neutrality
The cry of over two million eager, relentless and ever restless Indians to the overpowering might of TRAI and Telecom providers like Airtel is testament enough for change and proof that India in all its glory requires net neutrality now more than ever.
To be fair, let’s look at the facts. Airtel feels that since its “Bridging“ the gap between VoIP applications like Whatsapp and Skype it should be fairly compensated because Airtel makes money out of only data usage and gets nothing for carriage or bandwidth (or in Mr. Mittal’s analogy, pay tax for the highway) whereas such applications mint millions. So basically you want us to pay for the utilities that you are asking us to already pay for?
Really Mr. Mittal is that not the scheme that Airtel implemented in the middle of 2014 according to which every customer would have to pay close to ten thousand rupees for every 1 GB of data?
Conveniently like it is custom in our great nation the heads of the respective government organization (in this case the TRAI), namely the then chief Rahul Khullar very dogmatically read the handbook and said that since India has no law enforcing net neutrality. Airtel was not wrong in imposing its quoted rates.
Let’s leave money aside and look at the other major implications of not enforcing this act, well that’s just it, the internet service providers can run amok and favor any side they want like the “Airtel Zero “where we saw Flipkart and Airtel partnering up, which basically meant that if Airtel wanted it could make the browsing speed of competitor applications like Jabong and Snap Deal painfully slow forcing us to use Flipkart. But Flipkart soon realized that the Indian men and women are not to be trifled with. Flipkart was mocked to the point that they had to retract their deal and exit red faced with a shameful statement to boot.
But why restrict ourselves to already established companies? What will happen to the emerging online sector companies, when mammoth companies who if partner with telecom providers move their weight around and force the users to pay insane amounts of money for services these rising companies offer; Imagine whatsapp being created and Facebook teaming up with the likes of Airtel and giving it huge amounts of money to bleed Whatsapp dry and then buying Whatsapp for a nickel, well that’s what net neutrality will stop from happening.
Already the collective voices of millions of people using sites such as netneutrality.in and savetheinternet.in are shaking government establishments and making telecom companies run to the hills. Never have both public and private sectors faced such a whiplash.
The time is now, India doesn’t only need net neutrality, we demand it as our right.