So, here it is. The start of the doomsday. The bane of all internet users(Ok, so I’m paraphrasing a little bit) and still somehow the idea is floating around and yet to die. With the way things are going, I doubt it will die. What am I talking about ? Well its Net Neutrality or rather how Airtel Zero is violating Net Neutrality.
Airtel has launched ‘Airtel Zero’, a platform through which it will offer users free access to certain apps. These apps will be from developers who have signed up with the company. Through this scheme, certain part of the apps or the entire apps will be free for the users. Before you cheer, this could apply in reverse as well. It means that services which are not signed up with company could be charged or extra or they could have slower speed than the other apps. Just imagine a startup provides just the kind of services you want. But you don’t even get the chance to discover it as their more established and rich competitor’s apps can be accessed free of charge.
Airtel claims that the platform is similar to providing toll-free numbers for customer care and says Zero is ‘an open and non-discriminatory marketing platform for all developers in India – irrespective of the size of their business.’ (Well I call Bull*&%#)
Interestingly, the move comes a few days after TRAI floated a consultation paper on net neutrality. The Net Neutrality principle implies that all websites and services should be treated equal and there should be no discrimination in terms of speed and cost of access. This means that telecommunication companies can’t block a certain website or throttle speeds for one service or charge extra.
To recap, the TRAI has asked for views on net neutrality in the Indian context. If you don’t want your mobile operator to charge extra for WhatsApp, Skype or YouTube and promote its own services over the others, submit your responses to TRAI’s twenty questions to the authority before April 24, 2015 at firstname.lastname@example.org.