One might not be well versed with current affairs but everybody knows what Net Neutrality stands for. Millions had joined the fight in order to Save the Internet but TRAI seamlessly leaked all the email ids on its official website, leaving all the supporters of Net Neutrality absolutely exposed to spammers from all over the world. A plethora of individuals and corporates have stood in support of Net Neutrality but there is still a long way to go before the goal is achieved.
But in what comes as a mighty blow to the all important Net Neutrality movement, the mighty Facebook has gone all out and opened up its highly controversial platform internet.org to outside applications and web pages. The platform is slated to provide free access to internet to people all across the globe, especially the developing and poor nations. This comes in the back of controversy surrounding Net Neutrality all over the globe, especially India where Airtel Zero has caused nothing short of a storm. This move showcases Facebook’s highly aggressive stance in favour of its controversial internet.org platform.
In India the campaign in favour of Net Neutrality has been gathering pace at a fiery speed and is backed by the all famous times of India group. Firms like Newshunt, Cleartrip, Flipkart and NDTV have already pulled out of the internet.org and Airtel Zero platform, once they realized the threat such zero ratings can cause to Net Neutrality.
While announcing opening up of its internet.org platform, Mark Zuckerberg pointed out that internet.org is and will always remain a free platform so that anyone and everyone can develop absolutely free basic services which are accessible to all. But the complete internet will not be part of the deal. Zuckerberg also pointed out that the aim behind internet.org is to extend a few basic services to one and all without discrimination in the domains of education, employment and health care amongst many others.
According to him this is not a violation of the principles of Net Neutrality and that the world needs both the kinds of internet and access should never be restricted due to Net Neutrality. The long and medium term vision is to make more and more services available for free with passing of time. In order to do so a partnership is entered into with mobile service providers operating in the local region, as they will provide a few services without charging anything to its users while people can avail full access by subscribing to a paid plan. The reason behind this is that it is not at all sustainable and viable to provide the entire gamut of internet for free to all as no ISP or telecom player can financially afford to do so.
Mark Zuckerberg has continued and will carry on pitching for internet.org and zeroing rating platforms. But the world is not convinced, nor should it be. People rightly want similar kind of access to all websites at the very same speed without any preferential treatment, period. Only with the passage of substantial amount of time will we know how this battle between net neutrality and zero rating shapes up. Till then keep your fingers crossed and hope that net neutrality emerges victorious.