Pradeep Majhi bio photo

Pradeep Majhi

Soldier of people daring to challenge the inabilities of a corrupt,ineffective and dull government. Challenging status quo and fighting on the streets for the interest of my people is my full time job. And in my freetime I dream of a motherland where every youth's dreams will be full filled irrespective of their caste, creed , gender and religious beliefs.

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As I am writing this post two of the largest ISP (Internet Service Providers) in US, Times Warner and Comcast are seeking possibilities to become one company. That means one company will have control on about 80% of the internet access in USA. Citizens over there are terrified at this proposition because inspite of all the federal controls against monopoly that exist in USA customers fear the two players getting together can result in price fixation and hence internet will become inaccessible for some customers. I am bringing this up to open our minds the real reason why not just the netizens but all of India who have access to internet and who do not should stand up against Modi sarkar’s attempt to give us a non neutral net. Now what the fuss is this net neutrality? In simple terms it means democracy of internet. Like in a democracy every citizen has equal rights irrespective of caste, creed and religion every person on the internet should have the freedom to access every website he/she wants to access with equal ease. Most of the ISPs or specifically mobile internet providers in India have approached TRAI the regulating authority to allow them to basically take away this democracy from the internet. The reason they claim is protecting their revenues and hence their investment that they have made in the telecom infrastructure, but in reality all that they want is to be rewarded for not innovating. Traditionally telecoms make about 33% of their revenue from services other than calls and a big share of this is by the revenues they earn from their SMS, MMS and other VAS packages. The companies have to spend very little in providing these services and hence all the revenue they make goes to serve their bottomline. But with the proliferation of smart phones and the 3G internet, services like Whatsapp and Skype(internet telephone) are becoming popular. These services are directly competing with those provided by the telecom providers and come for free through innovative business models. And these services have achieved billion dollar valuations. So the telecom companies have a double greed working here, first they want to block services which are in direct competition of the services they provide and second they want to have a share of profitability that these internet companies are generating. Its very similar to a situation where you decided to drive a taxi during the Nabkalebar, you bought your taxi paid the road tax got the license and started operating. You were good at taxi driving so soon you got good business and not the RTO feels you should pay more taxes because your are profitable by driving on the transport department roads. Net neutrality though may seem like a not so important issue, if the internet was not neutral almost all of us will be affected, in many ways now and even more ways in the future. Leave aside access to over the top services like Whatsapp, if you are someone like me you are probably getting a lot of your news not from TV or newspaper but from the internet, if your service provider has access to control what to show you what not you will only get what the service providers give you. For example I am a regular reader of gfiles website, if there is a controversial report on some issue and my service providers decides not to show me the post or charge me extra for the post, won’t my views about the issue be shaped by what my service provider decides to show me? Apart from access to our favorite websites, lack of net neutrality will be a roadblock in getting net access to the part of population which are still unconnected. Because the service providers will get freedom to decide a low quality internet which is not the quality internet for the group of customers who are not lucrative for the company. Example are the low priced student call plans from various service providers which costs very less but you can just call your parents. Imagine having a internet which gives access to a useless job site called BabaJobs when everybody knows that is the largest job search portal of India. Think about it and if you believe this neutrality needs us to take sides, please call up your MP to bring up this net neutrality in Parliament.