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Monday, April 13, 2015

#NetNeutrality - Short and Simply Put

Posted by at 10:50 PM On to the Previous Post
A lot of buzz being generated about #NetNeutrality wherever I go, online or offline. So much so that I have copied the term 'NetNeutrality' and have kept it pasted on my Sticky Notes. But it's good that people are getting involved, aware and doing their bit to save the internet in this country.

For those who don't know, and I am pretty sure there are many who would want to know about it in a very short read, with as little stats as possible and as layman in terms as possible, I am putting down what it is and my thoughts on 'NetNeutrality' below. I am sure that after reading this you'll at least be able to take part in those 'intellectual' discussions that are happening around you these days. So here it goes.

Net Neutrality- Google says that it is
  1. the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

So let me break that definition down. 

'It's a principle' - of course you didn't find it difficult to understand that it's a principle.

'Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source' ISPs , or in our case , prevailingly , TSPs ( Telecom Service Providers)  should let a user access all contents and applications regardless of what the source is- freedom of choice , in bold. 

'and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites'  that means if Whatsapp is allowed as a legal application, then Viber too will be allowed, and it won't be blocked from usage. 

So how does it affect us, the end user? Quite simply put, in such a devastatingly close way that we don't even realize until and unless they destroy this principle which is currently in place , called as - 'Net Neutrality' . 

As a user, today you pay for the browsing and downloading anything you want. If #NetNeutrality goes away ( because our evil TSPs are trying to convince TRAI to bring some new regulations that will destroy this freedom of choice so that they can make more money)  , then your TSPs will choose for you- for FB/Twitter , you have to pay separately, for Whatsapp , you have to pay separately, for Google/Bing  , you have to pay separately and so on - so basically you as a user end up paying  a hell lot more than the usual. 

Now you might say - so what? Today I am paying 1000 bucks for everything, tomorrow I will have to pay 1500 , big deal!  For that I say, that's not entirely how straight it is.  

Firstly, spending 50% more than currently what you pay is a outrageously huge amount 

Secondly, not everyone can afford that kind of a jump of costs for the internet

Thirdly, if you have let's say 1GB of data left today you can use it for all kinds of surfing , but 
tomorrow if the TSPs succeed in what they want, then no matter how much you have if you don't have data for say using Whatsapp, you won't be able to use Whatsapp, simply put.

And mind you, this is also applicable for people who are having broadband connections at home and not just the ones who pay for the data packs ( yes some had queries on this too) . 

As a user, I think the destruction of the #NetNeutrality is the single most uncool and worst thing to happen to humankind. 

Now let's see how someone who makes business using the internet will suffer from this. 

Today if I launch a website which goes on to become the next big thing on the internet, what all would I need? A prototype that would have a front end web page, a back end database and a small IT infrastructure to keep the website up and running 24x7 with good performance. That's all. I don't have to worry about the internet. I just have to worry about seeing my website up and running 24x7 that's it.  
Tomorrow if the TSPs have their way , then I would have to pay a lot to the TSPs to make sure that the users who will visit my site are able to visit my website , to browse it, to surf through . But will I be able to pay such large sum of money to the TSPs to ensure this? That too at such an early stage of my product to sustain? I guess over 90% of startups will die because of this. 

To sum up, #NetNeutrality is important. It is important because we cannot really imagine a life without internet, or say, a life with biased, slow internet. Remember how it feels when you have to use a dongle at a remote location? How you want to throw your laptop away and bang your fists on the keyboard just because the video online was buffering a lot? Keep that frustration. Channelise it in this direction- against the greedy TSPs , in favor of the internet as it is today. Do your bit- the smallest of it will count.  Educate people around you about this lingering epidemic. Send that mail using www.savetheinternet.in . Downvote the FK and Airtel apps on playstore. Tweet, retweet , do everything you can to make sure #NetNeutrality stays. 

And do remember to get everything you want to do before 24th April . That's the date till when TRAI and our Govt. will listen to us. 

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