Telecom companies’ insatiable greed for more is not really appalling. Without us even knowing, they are already squeezing the juice out of us through various shoddy means. Intense lobbying by giants like Airtel and Vodafone forced TRAI, which appears to be acting in their interest, to allow them to block apps and websites to extort more money from consumers and businesses – the ultimate violation of net neutrality.
The internet is successful today because of net neutrality. The idea that internet service providers give their customers equal access to all lawful websites and services on the internet, without giving priority to any website over another, has been the soul of the whole internet era. TRAI will have to take responsibility for providing for Airtel, Vodafone and the others, rather than caring for the citizens.
No net neutrality will hurt badly
All telecom companies will have internet access with the same speed. So, whatever amount you pay, you get the same tortoise speed. Internet will be carved into different sections where you will have to pay differently to access different sites, just like you do currently for your DISH TV. Even worse, to buy high speed internet for a special site or package you will need a high speed package to shell more money out of your pocket.
If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power (and inclination) to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it. For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website. Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make.
To use Instagram, you will buy Insta Pack, to use Snapchat you will have to buy Snapchat pack, to watch cat gifs, you will have to buy Tumblr pack. This would also be a threat to start ups as the Big B’s of the industry won’t let them grow.
Do you realise how it would be like to search just Google, and not be able to access Yahoo for some Mirch Masala?
Is it too far-fetched an idea to float that the telecom regulatory body is in connivance with the telecom giants? Did some under-the-table transaction take place? TRAI has put the issue up on their website in a 118-page long consultation paper in size 10 font, sandwiched between three other links. This is cunning, and cheating.
If the TRAI doesn’t hear enough complaints, they will likely go ahead and implement the highly arrogant plan. The Government must put an end to this joke once and for all. It is ridiculous to debate on an issue that is fundamentally flawed. It is going against the will of the people!
Open and free internet is critical to our future. If it is taken away, what is left? The whole world is laughing at this nonsensical proposal. TRAI’s age-old mindset and the tendency to cave in to pressure makes it a redundant body in effect. If the regulatory body is more concerned about the profit margins of companies, why is it a Govt agency?
AIB has made a video to create awareness on the same and Celebs like Shahrukh Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra, Vishal Dadlani and few more big names from Bollywood have come forward to bring awareness among people. AIB is not alone in asking citizens to join the cause. Users on Instagram, Facebook and Change.org are also using these platforms to rally support for the cause at their own level. All you need to do is Log onto www.savetheinternet.in and send an email to TRAI and tweet using #savetheinternet.
TRAI needs to come out with a set of clear and precise rules that protect the net neutrality.
We have started seeing ISPs trying to take control of the traffic that flows from their servers but Trai can regulate them. It can keep the internet open and consumer-friendly by forming rules that protect net neutrality. These are early days so it is easy to do. If ISPs manage to change the system, it may become too late.