Wednesday, 21 October 2015

What is net neutrality and how does it affect you

What is net neutrality?
It means all the content on the internet is equal and equally accessible and users should be able to access it without any manipulation. It also means

Internet service providers should enable access to all content and  applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking any particular products or websites.


Imagine you go to a park. You find out that you are charged Rs. 100 for entry (BASE PACK). You give the money and enter the park.

Then you see a swing. Woaah! 


You go to the swing but the park executive says if you want to use the swing you need to pay Rs. 50 more. Who does not like a swing once in a while. so you pay Rs. 50 and start swinging.(SERVICE ADD ON PACK).

But you are not allowed to swing too fast because you have purchased only "swinging" service not the "speed" service. If you want to swing fast, you need to pay Rs. 50 more.(HIGH SPEED  ADD ON PACK).
You pay it as only thing worse than NO SWING(Internet) is a SLOWER SWING(Internet).

Well after the swing you feel tired and want to sit on the bench. As soon as you sit on the bench you are stopped with a message "Your ticket does not include this service" If you want to use this bench, pay Rs. 50 more.

Frustrated you start roaming around the park. Just after 10 steps, you are stopped and asked by the executive to roam only in a specific area as your ticket does not include the freedom to move to other areas.
At this time you wonder what the hell the original Rs. 100 (Base pack) for?

So in short if the internet neutrality is removed, then you will have to pay separately for different web services.
Want access to YouTube? Pay separately.
Want access to Skype , Viber? Pay separately.
Wan to use Whatsapp / Hike? Pay separately.
And not only this, speed for different content/websites can be controlled by ISPs.

This is what anti internet neutrality means in the long run. You will no longer be allowed to use internet freely unless you have purchased the costlier package. Imagine clicking a link within a website and getting the message "This website is not supported under your package".


How are Airtel Zero / related to this?
What Airtel zero and partnership with Reliance as of June 2015) are doing is just the beginning of a bigger epidemic. They are planning to launch a platform(app / website). This platform will support a bunch of other apps / websites.
They claim to offer free internet on selective apps/websites.
But is anything in this world for free? Why would any telecom provider provide something which is worth billions of dollars of revenue for free? They can do so only if there is another source of revenue for the same product. That means the selective sites will have to pay the telecom so that their sites could be viewed for free.

How does it affect you as the user?
And here is the catch. Why would websites pay for your bandwidth?
Simply because they want to control the way you spend your money.

For example consider 3 shopping websites  A,B & C. A pays a telecom company Rs. 10 lakh to provide their website on telecom's network for free. Company B can only manage to pay Rs. 1 lakh while company C cannot afford to pay anything as it does not have as much margins as company A or B.
What will happen?
As A is paying more, telecom will cater website A at a higher speed and B at a lower speed while there will be no signs of C at all.
Now you want to purchase something and it is a human tendency to compare before buying, isn't it?
You open site A, and find your product for Rs. 500. You open site B to compare but the site is too slow because they could not pay the same fees to the telecom, so obviously they won't get the same services (speed in general). And you do not have the option to go to site C, because they could not pay the fees. What do you do? You have no option other than buying it from site A on which prices may be higher than those on B & C. But you never got the chance to compare. And website A made a good margin, a part of which will be used to pay the fees to the telecom company to keep their site "freely accessible". So in short, there are no freebies. Now you have lesser options to choose from and still have to pay out more.

Perfect recipe for monopoly , eh?

EDIT: Just found out this article from inventor of Internet. Do read it.
What Berners Lee feels!

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