The issue of net neutrality is one of the most talked about issues in India at present and Airtel's participation with its zero marketing has created quite a stir in the virtual internet world. Should you be worried? Most certainly, because it takes away your freedom of communicating freely and promotes inequality by granting total control to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on which sites and apps get priority. Above all, it is important to know the whole concept of net neutrality before jumping into the fight against those violating the rights of so-called netizens.
What is net neutrality?
In simple terms, net neutrality is the means for every internet user to freely access any content or application without restrictions. Once you pay for the data through your respective ISP, you have the freedom to access anything on the internet and at the same speed. This means, you are allowed to decide on how to spend your allotted data, whether by watching a YouTube video, sharing WhatsApp messages or even connecting with friends on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
How is it important to you?
Assuming TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) succeeds in its attempt to diminish net neutrality, you will be forced to abide by the rules set by your ISP. For instance, you pay ₹249 for 1GB of 3G data on Airtel for a period of 30 days; net neutrality gives you the freedom to use your data any way you want, but if there is no net neutrality, Airtel will control your bandwidth treating all websites and apps with different speed. To give you a better perspective, your ISP can charge you extra for WhatsApp, Skype and other VoIP apps. This tactic will be applied for websites and apps as well.
Are you affected?
Unless you are a carrier, the new proposal to put an end to net neutrality in India will affect you. Besides end consumers, which combine all internet users via mobile or PC, small businesses and entrepreneurs are largely impacted by lack of net neutrality. Although large business like Google, Facebook and others with deep pockets can work their way by paying ISPs extra to get their services in the front line, small businesses will be damned.
TRAI and carriers need to understand that internet is a utility and not a luxury.
Should you join the fight?
Definitely, because TRAI's deadline for submissions of any complaints against its "Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services" or simply put end of net neutrality ends on 24 April. If TRAI doesn't receive enough complaints, it will pass the plan and India will see the first sign of Dark Age.
What you must do to help?
If you are a frequent internet user or you use internet from time to time, it is important you submit your disagreement to TRAI. To do so,