It’s our right, right?(Net Neutrality)

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Business Mantra : Faridabad.

Written by Tushar Gupta (Author is a final year student of engineering at NIT Kurukshetra, Haryana)

For most of its billoins of users worldwide ,Internet is a synonym for Google and life without it is quite unimaginable . But what if i were to tell you that Google,which is probably the most important innovation of twentieth century,might not exist after 5 years . Mr. Larry Page , co-founder of Google , expressed similar views when he stated in an interview that rival companies were secretly buying its shares and trying to bring it down . But what good can this possibly do to them? As you all are aware that google does not charge any fee for its search operations. The companies who do charge a fee for its search results feel that google is cutting off their revenues.

The idea of open Internet and Net Neutrality is similar to the above mentioned situation in many aspects. There are those those who believe that free and open Internet is mandatory to keep new innovations coming and on the other side are those who think it’s okay for authorities to regulate and control Internet . Imagine a situation where you want to purchase a book online and decide to compare prices on two webstores say Amazon and Flipkart, when you click on Amazon it opens up in a flash of second but Flipkart takes 10 mins to load due to poor connectivity and you end up buying the book from Amazon.Or try to login to your Facebook account but the Internet provider asks you for additional charge to access te site. Or try to find data about Kashmir situation but cannot find any data in favour of Pakistan. This is where Net Neutrality pitches in. Net neutrality means Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) should provide us open networks against any application or content that ride over those networks. In simpler words , Net Neutrality implies equal access to all kinds of similar data and more importantly to all data. It preserves our right to communicate freely.

 

What if there is no Net Neutrality? Established companies and firms which can pay higher revenues to the Internet providers will be put in fast access lanes. Small business owners , startups and entrepreneurs who rely on open internet to distribute their products and services might not be able to pay similar amount of money .They will get badly affected and their reach to people will be limitised . According to an analysis ,online marketing is a $62 billion industry and growing . The number of computer workers has risen by 35% since 2007. Open Internet plays a crucial role in this .Net Neutrality makes sure that  Startups have equal oppurtunities and acess to people.

Another major impact of regulated Internet will be on freelance journalism and minority groups . Most of the governments monitor their mainstream media reports and the information provided is corrupt , falsified or one-sided. For years , Internet has been a source for minorities to express and spread their views and free press groups to provide authentic information.Without Net Neutrality , government can easily block or filter out these voices. This is a clear violation of right to freedom of speech.

So finally , the big question is how do we save the Internet? Sadly , there is not a single law in country which can prevent violation or vandalism of free internet . In march 2015, Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a 117 page consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services and asked for a consensus of people. The released paper is so technical and detailed that a normal person would get a headache. It basically gives elaborated reasons for why Internet should be regulated. TRAI received more than a million petitions in over a months time in favour of Net Neutrality. Countries such as Chile,Netherlands and USA have acknowledged the importance and need of Net Neutrality and have formed certain laws to ensure it. What people of our country need to realise is the severity of the situation and the ramifications will be huge  if no such laws are made and implemented.People must come forward and express their protests in every possible manner to push the government to take this matter dead seriously. Free Internet is our right and we will make sure that it stays the same.

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