Friday, 11 December 2015

Net Neutrality

Last heard “Flipkart pulls out of Airtel Zero because of Violating norms of Net Neutrality”, the question that arises here is “ What is Net Neutrality?” Since it is making a lot of noise on the social media, across tabloids most of the people are curious to know the impact of net neutrality. Let us get to the root first and understand what Net neutrality means:
Net Neutrality:  Net neutrality is internet’s guiding principle that focusses on preserving the right to communicate freely with the people.
Let us understand it by comparing internet – the medium on which businesses are run with electricity on which home appliances are run.
The electricity consumption charge should not be dependent on the brand of the equipment you are running in your household. Godrej is a major player when it comes to electrical equipment and home appliances. Say if tomorrow Mr. Adi Godrej says you purchase my equipment you will not be charged for the electricity, will it be fair to the other smaller players competing in the industry? Electricity should not be biased to any particular brand of equipment then why tame the digital waves when it comes to the internet.
I am one of the many loyal followers of flipkart founder Sachin Bansal but like most of the netizen’s I too  had uninstalled the flipkart app from my cell phone when I came to know about its association with Airtel Zero plan where the customer is not charged for the internet access to flipkart.

Thankfully Mr. Bansal realized this unethical practice and soon withdrew from the plan but the damage had already been done.
Similarly, the idea of free Facebook had created ripples in the hearts & minds of the people when Mr. Zuckerberg had announced the launch of INTERNET.ORG where users would get free access to internet and free Facebook to about 100 million residents, but what we had overlooked was
·       Which sites will be included in
·       Who will be governing the decision to include or to exclude websites?
·       What will be the criteria for website to get featured on
·       What about the start-ups future on free & fair competition in the market?
·       What if they ask to pay extra for accessing a particular service on internet?
·       Will they be guiding which site should I be browsing and which I should not?

Internet is one of the finest creations of the human mind and is not a property of few business giants and should never be!!!

Prof. Tausif Mistry

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