Net Neutrality Matters

Net Neutrality is widely discussed on blogs, newspapers, and facebook user pages and on other sources all over the nation and even in World. This blog post is an attempt to understand net neutrality in common man’s perspective. I support Net Neutrality.

The whole concept of net neutrality debate started in many countries in the past and they have agreed for net neutrality with an opinion that Internet is must for growth of a country in various ways let it be economical or educational.

Net neutrality can be defined as unbiased, uncontrolled and unrestricted access to resources available online to a user with an internet connection. Net neutrality allows a user of internet to access any website or app or service without any restriction at their choice from any Internet Service Provider (ISPs) or Mobile Service Providers.

Recently in India debate on net neutrality started with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) interest in revising the norms for Indian Telecos providing Internet service to users. Telecos are the service providers providing Internet to the mobile users mainly and also others through data cards. To control the huge potential (of money) in the growing demand of internet usage especially mobile internet in India majority Telecos have come together with a request to stop net neutrality.

Telecos have come up with an argument in support of their demand of no net neutrality that they have invested huge sum (in thousands of crores) to build network infrastructure and providing hassle free service like phone, sms and high speed mobile data connection (3G or 4G). Because of On-The-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Viber or Skype (to name a few are using network infrastructure built by Telecos and causing loss of their income as users are not using services like call or SMS and instead use OTT services. OTT services are threat to conventional calls and SMS and more people are moving towards such OTT services making Telecos to undergo huge loss as they have invested and investing on Network infrastructure and maintenance. The fruits of telecos investment are taken away by OTT service providers making huge profits with little or zero investment. So Telecos are proposing for no net neutrality and planning for new services similar to existing OTT services by themselves and don’t let other OTT service providers to take away their investment.

On other hand popular OTT services are ready to pay hefty amounts to Telcos and make sure that only their service are made available to users easily dominating the OTT service or App market. In such scenario only establishments ready to pay hefty amounts will win the race and others will definitely lose. Other side of the coin is users will be forced only to use such OTT sevices having good deal with Telecos.

Both Telecos and popular OTT services are making huge profits. But the actual losers are the end users, medium and low business establishments and entrepreneurs. Same scenario happened to the general public in case of Direct to Home (DTH) operators few years back. Users were forced to pay for separate packs and all packs were available only for substantially high price. Intelligently Telecos and popular OTTs are trying to bring similar situation even with Internet usage as it has huge potential making users not to have any choices except using the ones provided by Telecos and OTT service providers by paying extra money.

Some cons of No Net Neutrality:

  • Telecos can control the access speed of OTT services or App or websites which are not in deal with them and divert users to the ones having deal with them.
  • Telecos can charge for accessing OTT services based on their wish as it will be like offering extra service apart from regular Internet. Customer need to pay both for Internet and added service. 
  • OTTs can influence Telecos by paying hefty amounts to Telecos and make sure only their services are provided for free and with high speed to users.
  • Telecos can come up with new OTT services as similar to the existing ones and user will be forced to use such services.
  • Medium or low level establishments or entrepreneurs may lose or give up in race as they cannot pay hefty amounts to have a deal with telecos or to sustain without customers.

Internet has become and becoming part and parcel of our day to day life. Starting from the time we wake up to sleep and beyond. We are dependent on it from paying bills online to reserving travel tickets and many more at our convenience thorough Neutral Internet or Net Neutrality. By no net neutrality the healthy ecosystem of internet usage which still at growing stage in India will be definitely spoiled. Telecos are arguing they are in loss but they are not providing Internet service for free and charging high prices for a single Giga Byte (GB) of data and users are increasing for day usage by paying money. So no question arises about the loss to Telecos.

Internet is becoming inevitable and days are not so far that it will be added to our fundamental rights not only in India but all over the World. Concerned authorities should take the decision and make sure internet is available in neutral form to end users without any bias, control and restriction.