Diatribes on Monopoly — The Net Neutrality

Yeah I am frustrated, at one point few years back I stopped following news. At one point I shunned from social media. At one point I stopped from taking phone calls. At one point I just lost interest in job and yes at one point lost interest in life. But was it because of me, my life, my parents, the society, the government or the world at large. Even till today I am not able to find the root cause, but somehow I have found control & monopoly loosely associated in some way or the other to the cause of my such decisions or you can say the reason of my revolt against the status quo and what the world expects from me.

Control can be positive and sometimes very regressive, it can allow to bloom and give you focus but can also take the choices from you and it may affect you and future generations like no other aspect of life. And if you look Monopoly is also a form of control where one or only a few have control of what we get and how we get, they decide the price, the options and opportunities for us. While there lies an opportunity there lies the worst pitfalls. And in our modern world we have so many live examples of it coming. I would not have started this blog series but then the debate of Free Internet is heating up and so is the debate of the true identity of being an Indian. All these and more have forced me to attack the status quo and what world things is right and ok. I feel its not ok and just for the future of my son I feel that I have to fight, in my own ways, I am as frail as a guest of wind and am sure my words will loose its significance in the sea of voices that resides in the digital world and which today stands threatened.

On Open Internet and Net Neutrality to give you a quick update the history is repeating itself in US which happened some years back in India when FB in the form of Internet.org was trying to launch Free Internet through Reliance Jio which focus on selective content and then was banned by TRAI . In today’s digital age where we live and die by our virtual presence and identity, many of us take for granted the real value of content and how its distributed and presented. Yes Internet is not perfect but its the content which has made it so important aspect of our lives. Without the free content the internet was any other infrastructure like sms or pager but no value. Today if there is a boom on mobile phone sales, if we have Internet Giants like FB and Google then its all because of the content they serve. And here the importance of Net Neutrality lies. If carriers decide what content we see and which content is slow, the viability of accessing the huge mass of information goes away. Again the charm, the importance of internet will go away and again trillions of dollars of business and the millions of small businesses that have become viable during the internet age will all become use less.All the VCs, all the Startup culture and all the hoopla of Internet age unicorns will all go kaboom. And in some ways my job, my dreams and my future is also related to it. Hence without doubt I will support Net Neutrality.

Yes I do not have billions of dollars, I do not have the reach and the lobby power but what the FCC is doing now in US to break the hard earned net neutrality, that is what bothers me. It is in line of what Donald Trump said when he took office. And all his focus on manufacturing jobs reflected of a man and administration whose vision is so far from reality. And how dangerous it can be for US, its citizens and all the trillion dollar technology business which are the only silver lining in the faltering US economy. And it also reflects the dangers it will have on the free world as what the US says the governments world over follow, be it the line on refugees, or its stand on immigration or its stand on Trade or even on Net Neutrality. Last time

Reliance Jio & FB failed to implement their plan to become the Internet monopoly in India just because in US the net neutrality debate has created awareness on the importance on the free movement of content and its equal access to all the content in the internet and making internet as a utility, it took away the power that some greedy CEOs and corporations wanted to have over the future of Internet in the way it is distributed thereby helping the next cycle of creativity and growth that we see today. The world is slowing but internet is growing, and still there is lot of scope in its penetration. And more and more people have access to this medium, more and more people are able to participate and share ideas and help create disruptive possibilities that was not possible earlier. Even when India is pushing for Digital India, initiative having few corporation rule it will only kill that initiative and will stop all the great possibilities even from budding. For ages many cultures and societies of the world have been deprived of the knowledge and the opportunities that they truly deserve. For long countries of Asia, Africa and South America have been called the countries of 3rd World while strict control have been put on the dissemination of knowledge and content has been done. Yes few big corporations made huge money and also splurged it on CEO pay scales and in market bubbles. But today thanks to open internet and the hard fought battle of net neutrality the real benefits of knowledge and opportunities are reaching to these 3rd world countries.

Its the direct impact of open internet and globalization that countries like India and China have reached their true potential and still thanks to internet and the digital era we are starting to see new initiatives like Smart cities and smart villages and digital India and Aadhar identification on a scale never done before. It is thanks to open internet only that today countries of Africa using technologies like IOT, Blockchain and AI are transforming their unprivileged life to conduits of positive change. Yes I know all is not well with Internet, even terrorism like ISIS and Al Qaeda are also got prominence and international following thanks to the internet. But because of few bad apples can we kill the trillion opportunities , business and advances that have been created on this information revolution.

Its time that not only citizens but also governments, representatives of people and technocrats and leaders of the technology industry raise up to the challenge which is posed by the latest FCC statements and should support the below petitions to make more people aware and promote net neutrality not only in US but also in India.

If you have understood and support Net Neutrality, Please support these causes.

Whats More:

It seems FCC has ethics guidelines and still Ajit Pai, a former Verizon employee becomes an FCC chairman and bats for making the concept of Selective content delivery by ISP providers a reality.

Even by these standards say till Trump is there the conservatives may enjoy their sites and voice reaching to large swaths of America but the damage to economy and the American culture will be permanent and the current effort of preparing the US youth for a more automated world and for the information age all thanks to open internet via Coursera and EdEx will become now selective and who knows even slow lane. We wont see the next Khan Academy or we will not see the next FB or Google happening. Or will have to wait till next century for such disruptive technology like Internet to happen. Even worse going by the history if another world war happens in the later part of this century, rest assured a good part of the humanity will be wiped out thanks to the stockpile of Nuclear weapons we have amassed. We do not even need a Hitler or Polpot to bring about such huge destruction to the world we just need to kill internet and just allow one mad president or dictator to flip that red switch that will ensure MAD without even world even realizing in few minutes. Yeah when I say MAD its Mutual Assured Destruction.

Yeah so here I stop as I have become exhausted and also at my wits end as to how much doom I can show and what rests in balance in this seemingly harmless interpretation of Net neutrality where the ISP and internet carriers decide which content goes on fast lane and what not. Its like someone said

It’s like your Carrot Vendor Charging More if you will make Soup instead of Halwa out of it!

or

Charging for internet calls is like daylight robbery. I request the telecom minister and regulatory authorities to nip such practices in the bud and protect net-neutrality like other developed nations.

or

Skype or Whatsapp or for that matter any of the similar services are not offered by ISPs but by their respective firms. Hence ISPs do not deserve the right to charge separately for these services.

Finally the most important Petition please support it.