Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Neutral about Net Neutrality

Recently, a group of professors from IITs, IIMs and IISc came forward and supported the net neutrality. Their argument was that network providers are not at loss due to this. They also came up with a solution that one could charge differently for every Giga Byte of data used. That would go with net neutrality and also the network companies could be benefitted.Maybe!

They say that the term given to applications such as Whatsapp, Wechat, Skype, Facebook etc. is a nice, funny one. Over The Top (OTT) applications, they are called. A school might be benefited by the road laid to it, but it is wrong to say that the school is running only because of the road. But that is not the case here. If a person rents a home, he might be charged some amount for the house rent. If #hem(he/she) wants hot water, Television, wi-fi and furniture, #hem is charged extra for each of the benefits. That is because neither hot water nor electricity comes for free.

Similarly, if Whatsapp wants to provide messaging and voice calls for free over the internet, it is actually fine. There were many messaging applications on the internet earlier too. But now, through an internet package on a SIM card of a company, if messages and voice calls are being sent, it is basically grabbing away the market of the network providers. It would be like saying since the house was taken on rent, there should be access to hot water and wi-fi too. That is at the cost of the owner, is it not?

Fine. Now, the network providers start charging for these "OTT"s(yes, this name is funny!) and not the customer. Say, now, to have the application running on mobile phones, the companies providing voice calls over internet or those who provide online television or the e-commerce web sites start paying the network providers. There is healthy competition and the mobile companies are benefitted too. Since there is competition, the end prices might still be the same for the customer. But, what about small companies? New start-ups who felt they can do something just using talent without any necessity for paying? Talent is lost because of vested interests.

It is like, there is a shopping mall and those who can afford for rent there only can open a shop. Others cannot. This is bad for a progressive society and even for young entrepreneurs. Probably, the best idea would be to properly filter which websites are posing a threat to network companies and charge them accordingly or as the professors said, charge for every GB of data.
The solution should be such that every one is benefited. They were, in the past. Why not in the future too!!