For the past few days,we are waking up to newspaper ads imploring us to support Free Basics by Facebook.
We,in India,are made to believe by the ads that it is the best thing waiting to happen to internet in India.
The tone in the ad suggests that Facebook is going to do an yeomen service to India by giving internet access India's rural poor.
There was a similar story about Google's Loon as well.
What tamasha is this?
Are we seeing a repetition of the Colonial times?
At stake is Net Neutrality,the idea that has triggered the success of many a start-up and is continuing to do so.
Computers and Net Connectivity is one of the best things which have happened to India in recent times.Indian youths' success in the IT field has largely been driven by their ability to access information freely over the Net.
This is under threat now,thanks to Free Basics...there is nothing 'Free' about it.
Now,the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will have rights to charge as they wish.This will mean that only the biggies like Facebook,Google etc,,will have money to pay the ISPs.Thus,eliminating any competition from smaller and promising tech companies.
This is about the business part of it.
This is a big blow to the individual netizen also.The average netizen stands to lose as he/she cannot access the net contents at their wish and will.They have to consume only the information that is doled by the ISP's,based on their business considerations.
This is a bid by the biggies to restrict the Net access that has propelled a lot of employment and development in India.
Three hundred years back,it was the English cottons and their merchants who first came as traders and usurped our freedom.Our native textile industry was ruined.
Now,it is the turn of the big Internet Players to wreak havoc on India's development.
TRAI should not encourage net partiality by supporting such ventures.India will dig its own grave if net neutrality is affected.Promising startups will never see the daylight.It will be the first step in India's development setback.
In India,we have Right to Speech,Right to Practice Our Religion and Beliefs etc.From now on,we should also have the Right to Net Access also as a fundamental right.
Sincere appeal to all Indian netizens,please do not support anything that will take away the freedom of numerous netizens like you and me.
Here is the TRAI link where comments or suggestions can be made regarding Net Neutrality.
Please input your comments to safeguard Net Neutrality