What is Net Neutrality and why we Indians should be concerned about it?

Net Neutrality is a principle that governs content accessibility via online platforms. It mostly points to ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and prevents them from limiting user access to any legal data on the internet. In short, it prevents content discrimination and makes sure that everyone gets access to the same information regardless of who they are or where they are from.

The uniformity is also extended to the speeds at which content is accessible. For example, if you are trying to download or stream content, speeds should be the same whether you are in Los Angeles or in India. The only thing that should influence the speeds is broadband connection package selected.

Why Net Neutrality is Important?

Net neutrality best describes freedom to use the internet without much influence from the service provider as long as the service has been paid for. It is this concept that allows users access content on popular websites such as YouTube and Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. The latter has particularly become an important source of influence and awareness.

Now imagine if the ISPs were to block your access to some of these aspects. This means they would be going against your right to access freely some of this information.

Looking at it from a business perspective, if ISPs were to limit access by charging fees for exclusivity, some businesses would suffer while others would gain an unfair advantage. In short, net neutrality is the key factor to ensuring uniformity and fairness over the internet.

Net Neutrality for India

Net neutrality is yet to be a legal concept for India though there have been numerous effort to set up regulations based on the concept. However, now is the time to put the fight into gear. This is because the telecom industry has become more competitive than ever, especially with the growing shift towards LTE.

These companies will be seeking alternative ways to make extra cash over the available Internet loopholes. A good example is services such as Skype or WhatsApp, which freely ride on basic internet offerings.

If net neutrality regulations are not enforced, the telecom operators will eventually come up with ways to capitalize over these loopholes. Therefore the mobile subscribers will eventually end up paying more for services that they currently access freely.

It is also important to note that the industry is still growing, and that means there is more traffic on limited servers. There is a high likelihood that ISPs might include tariffs on the flow of data to maintain quality in line with their capacity.

The future of most future businesses in India especially online-based businesses is pegged on the path that the country will take when it comes to internet regulations.

Setting up websites is currently easy because the number of parties involved is limited and as a result, the initial capital required is low. If the laws don’t apply, the number of online bumps will increase, thus making it harder for such businesses.

Eventually, lack of clear regulations limits the implementation of ideas that might be critical to further development of online platforms in future.

Why firms want to take control of the Internet?

The internet is a web of untapped potential and a host of many opportunities just waiting to be tapped into. As stated earlier, some of the opportunities might lead to unfair practices, and that’s why net neutrality regulations are necessary.

It all comes down to financial gains. If these companies gain more control over the internet, they will take advantage of their capacity and monetize most of the basic services. As a result, users will incur more costs. This will also lead to unfair competition among the ISPs.

As a result, the internet will become a battlefield, and there will be casualties. In this case, the death of healthy mainstream services as well as the level of creativity.

Most services introduced by ISPs are mainly competitive in the sense that they add more value. This attracts users and as a result, the services evolve to favor the users.

If the ISPs shift to more monetized services, there will be less creativity. Eventually, it will become a case of pay more for less. Let’s face the truth, service providers will always seek such opportunities, and if not regulated, things will become chaotic.

Disadvantages of Net Neutrality

Unfortunately net neutrality also has its downsides. The regulations subject the service providers to high costs incurred for the free flow data.

The pricing is also uniform and in most cases, it is set on the upper spectrum. This means it is mostly based on what organizations and wealthy individuals can afford. And, it makes it a bit unfair for the regular low-end user.

Another disadvantage is the fact that net neutrality allows social evils such as pornography to thrive via the internet. The regulations also create an opportunity for the government to express its influence over the internet and various services.