Any device could connect to the web as long as it followed universal rules or Internet Protocol (IP). When we pay electricity bill, do we bother about the brand of products that are running in our house eg. Voltas refrigerator, whirlpool washing machine, hitachi air-conditioner or Dell laptop. No we don’t. The only thing that matters is the units consumed. On the basis of the calculation No. of units (kWh)*Rate, we pay our electricity bills. Similar is the concept of Net neutrality, where we stand to pay Internet bill just on the basis of the usage and not on the basis of the site that we are surfing eg. If we have to pay more for Facebook/twitter/Google/Yahoo as these are established brands and less for the other lesser known or unknown upcoming brands, then it violates the concept of net neutrality.
In today’s world, lot many start-ups are setting up their bases and many likes of Flipkart, Snapdeal etc have already used the concept of Net Neutrality to their advantage. If this changes then many other smaller startups that are trying to set up and provide services to the masses at large, their businesses will suffer and the start up culture that is towards the upswing till now will start going down.
Airtel had come up with AIRTEL ZERO wherein it had introduced the concept that while providing internet services they will tie up with brands like Facebook, Flipkart(declined) etc. and will provide the customers with the option of choosing any one of the sites from the gamut that they offer which they can surf for free and the rest of the sites will be chargeable depending upon the value of the brand in the market. If the brand is at the top of the ladder, then the charges will be more for surfing and vice-versa. Now, this completely violates the concept of Net Neutrality which has been used by the mankind upto their advantage. Not only the startups, but also the masses have used this concept to their advantage. The likes of Airtel seem to be putting forth the idea that the one’s having brand value is easily accessible with enhanced speed and the rest are not. Also, if one is surfing through the basic net then charges are less and if they are going deep into the website then the charges are more e.g. While surfing through Facebook, if one is just on the homepage and watching the photos of others then the charges are less, but on uploading the photos the charges are more. It’s by need or habit, that people tend to enter deeper into the website, so they will be charged more always.
Airtel came up to their defense stating that this is similar to IVR where in normal cases one has to select the choices according to their requirements and their queries will be solved through a prior-recorded computerized voices. Only when the case cannot be solved through the basic set parameters or if one needs advice, then there is an option to connect to the customer care executive who can solve their queries. Most of the times, CCE also seem to be helpless, though there are set charges to interact with the CCE. Most of the times, it happens that the people want to talk to the CCE as the normal parameters do not solve their queries. So, in case of IVR the charges will be levied most of the times as almost always one need to talk to the CCE.
When internet came into being, the use increased as there was free flow of information on any topic with the help of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo etc. which helped people across the globe. It was used to provide information and help to the people without much expense to the mankind without any discrimination. Now, with the concepts like Airtel Zero, we will be discriminating on the basis of the deep-pocket that a person holds. It will be more easily accessible to the rich than to poor. There will be yet another way of keeping the rich richer and poor poorer.
The use of Net is almost indispensable. Nowadays, people are using net for buying, paying bills, Netbanking, social networking, working from home. Many things are happening from the comfort of the homes. If net neutrality will be violated, all of this will be affected. The beneficiaries of this have mostly been the ones belonging to the lower rung of the society will once again, due to lesser monetary resources will remain out of the things they can do due to net neutrality.
With the advent of Skype (for voice and video communication) and other “over the top” (OTT) services, the ISP (Internet Service Providers) were under pressure due to which they wanted to charge more for branded apps and websites like Whatts up, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Telecom Regulation Authority of India (Trai) is also looking into the matter. If this happens, then creativity and innovation will be killed as people who write blogs, start a new venture, come up with instant ideas on the web will not be able to utilize the free web. Sometimes ISP’s can also limit the access to any legal content that they want to hide form general public which normally doesn’t happen.
IoT(Internet of Things): Smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, wristwatches, television, appliances can be interconnected to each other with the power of neutral web leading to today’s IoT.