Net Neutrality is the raging issue at the moment in our great country. Airtel’s proposed game changing service, Airtel Zero has triggered India’s most heated debate in recent times. The chants of Save The Internet can be heard loud and clear all across. Internet service providers and telecom barrens are supporting zero rating for obvious reasons while a plethora of corporates, government officials and individuals are gung ho against it. Trai has been sent Lakhs of messages to stop the implementation of such services but the authority seems to be okay with it. What will finally happen is more interesting to see than an Alfred Hitchcock suspense movie.
In the mean time, the all famous CEO of the juggernaut known as Facebook has defended zero rating and the internet.org platform. This comes just a few days after a few of its associates walked out on him to support net neutrality. Zuckerberg has expressed his strong disagreement with one and all that are dead against the concept of zero rating.
Mark Zuckerberg said that he and his company are in complete support of net neutrality and the motive of internet.org is not to pose a threat to net neutrality at all. The aim actually is to extend internet connectivity in regions where broadband penetration is still lower. Facebook’s vision is to get more and more people connected to the internet. The principles of net neutrality and universal connectivity can work hand in hand. Not everyone under the sun can afford to pay for data connectivity and therefore it is an all but necessary and imperative move to provide few services for free. He questioned what is better, giving people some access or no access to internet whatsoever at all.
Zuckerberg also pointed out that net neutrality can come in the way connecting the less privileged to internet. It will lead to depriving people of a much needed opportunity and the goal of bridging the digital divide gap along with achievement of social inclusion cannot be possible. But that’s his point of view.
After a slew of online backlash over the past few days, a plethora of Facebook’s partners like Cleartrip, NDTV, Flipkart and Times group have subsequently backed out of the internet.org phenomenon. The debate over net neutrality has been a burning topic all over the world for months now but it has surfaced in India very recently. The country’s biggest telecom operator, Airtel, had proposed to start charging its hapless customers for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services, which are generally free all over the world. But Airtel had rightly backed out at the last moment.
Now the debate has surfaced once again owing to Trai’s approval of Airtel’s proposed Airtel Zero services. But the move has attracted a lot of flak from all possible quarters. A final decision is yet to be taken by the concerned authority on the same. But a major chunk of people have their fingers crossed that net neutrality should emerge victorious. TRAI’s mail box continues to be flooded in the meantime. Only time will reveal what finally comes out of this ongoing battle.