Internet neutrality


The attempts within the institutions to maintain internet neutrality in India for the benefit of poor people has once again triggered another debate on this issue. The notices issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to social networking site Facebook and search engine Google owners to maintain net neutrality so far as access to internet from subscribers to telecom companies is concerned are a focus on its utility. In fact, it is surprising that Facebook and some other companies have been submitting proposals to the regulatory authorities in different parts of the world seeking to limit access to their content on selective basis. Most countries in the world are opposed to control on access to web content for the subscribers of different services maintaining that the access cannot be allowed on selective basis. They have been of the view that such a move will be a retrograde step in this age. The companies which have been earning billions of dollars in revenue from their web content and social networking sites want a lion’s share in the revenue and limit access to their content. This is a design of the corporate capitalist companies to limit access through their web content and their social networking sites so that only those subscribers faithful to their companies will be free to access the content on their sites. It has been felt for a long time that many people having access to the web content across the world will be left out or isolated from the web content of some of the select companies as a result this will lead to discrimination with some subscriber who are from poorer countries and cannot afford to pay hefty amounts of money to some selected companies for enjoying access to the web content for the purposes of knowledge and sharing a platform for spreading their messages across the world attracting the attention of the rational thinking community towards the problems of the third world countries. This will also discriminate against the people, who will be enjoying access to the web only in the recent past or in future. In the same manner the internet neutrality has to be maintained for the masses who should not be allowed to become hostages to the evil and monopolistic designs of corporate world, who just want to make a quick buck through a captive clientele on their communication network and internet platform. Unfortunately, the corporate destitute, who flourish on the doles of the successive governments in India are always busy in maintaining exclusiveness of their business empires for earning more money through their monopolistic designs while the government and its agencies act as mute spectators to the whole process. In fact, the sympathizers of these companies in the government act as facilitators in the process. The Flipkart has taken a right decision in choosing out of the platform provided by Airtel Zero for limited and restricted access to people though the online selling portal. The question arises why in the first place, Flipkart decided to join hands with the Airtel on this issue in utter disregard to the general perception of maintaining internet neutrality. It should have been borne in mind that its success as one of the leading online selling portal would not have been possible without the internet neutrality that was being practiced in the country till date. It should also be borne in mind that if this was being done in India by Airtel Zero, Reliance and Facebook were also floating similar platforms to corner huge number of net surfers through their platforms for creating a captive market for their business houses. Such an attitude of the corporate houses also smacks of evil designs which may be in store for the innocent and gullible users around the world. Some of the Internet Service Providers (ISP) have been supportive of the idea of maintaining internet neutrality because they also want to grow like other corporate houses which want to build captive platforms, which may deny an access to newer entrants to this field. Somehow, the newer models are designed to garner and build bigger audiences and more readers of their portals in the free market regime.