Does The Internet Need Preferences of Telcos: Net Neutrality in India

With the United States of America moving towards a net-not-neutral regime, the Federal Department of Communications is all set to tilt the scales in the favour of the telcos who will be ale to gain a stronghold over the content consumption of their customers.

India, the net neutrality debate started as long as 2015, and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, has now finalised the rules for a net neutrality in respect of the Indian markets.

The internet has been the biggest disruption in the history of mankind and has changed the way we interact with the world. The internet that used to be free and fair, just stopped being fair when capital packed companies like Flipkart and Amazon destroyed the brick-and-mortar retail. The next push is seen in the banking sector, where a massive push for electronic banking methods has gained prominence. The future of the intensive digital push by the Prime Minister, has to have a wider perspective assimilating all masses over rampant profiteering.

Amidst the blind rise of content over the years, the internet has also impacted the political culture in the society, whereby the people have seemingly embraced the sectarian and narrow views and opinions espoused by the parties that get the content promoted.

The internet has a very optimistic experience as well for many parts of the country, where the access to the internet has opened a world of new opportunities. Yet, the worst disruption in the telecom sector was Reliance backed Jio internet services. Though Jio allowed seamless penetration of internet in the ordinary Indian household, the investments made by Jio need to be yielding profit at some point.

The concept of net neutrality has assumed significance today more than ever as US moves towards a more regulated internet, other nations might follow suit. The internet giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon, also known as the over-the-top services, have petitioned for net neutrality, yet the telcos  have lobbied hard for a regulated internet.

Trai has finalised the draft rules over net neutrality on 30th of August, yet there seems to be no knowledge as of yet whether the telcos will benefit or the people.

In a country like India, where the internet of things has yet to make a print, the internet for all must be free and fair, the people must not pay for any content that is not favoured by their ISP. The ISP in India must look beyond profits and think about the exposure, knowledge, and the start-ups that are yet to spring in India. Internet of things can make Indian lives more comfortable and easier given the fact that there are series of issues that need to addressed for the architect of modern India.

With internet penetration increasing, the social utility of ICT may be in danger if consumers are asked to pay for anything that the Telco does not get a share from, and then the purpose of internet of things fails.

The American economy is way ahead of India to adapt to their measures, but as of now and for the future, the internet in India must be a Socialists’ tool to advance a utopian reality, unlike elsewhere. This might help the people to find exact opportunities to elevate their lives and moderate the costs involved in affording certain services like instant healthcare, education and more.

"Data to Emerge as Next Frontier for Trade Parleys Between Countries"- Nilekani

While addressing a summit, ‘Unlocking US-India Trade Potential’ in Bengaluru, Infosys chairman, Nandan Nilekani observed that in the near future the countries will be dealing in the Big Data for monetary considerations to provide a better and robust framework to its citizens for data privacy and prevent misuse of the data.

The ‘Internet of Things’ as we call it, is surely the future of governance ranging from the smallest nations to the world’s largest democracies. The outlook has been so vague that our Prime Minister has to his credit mooting of the idea of e-Voting across the country so as to promote an increased participation in voting and drive out the menace of booth capturing and election rigging (if any).

India saw two revolutionary Prime Ministers, by the term revolutionary we mean technocratic revolutionaries. The first of its kind being Rajiv Gandhi, who was taken to be a witty foreigner who used to exaggerate the deployment of computer systems in the nation to provide better administration and accelerating growth. It must not be forgotten that he was never taken seriously until after his death when the use of computers started to replace the routine pen-paper work in the government offices. The second such technocrat PM is Narendra Modi.

In his experiment Gujarat, as he then was the CM, he deployed the scheme of digitization from the grass-roots to the improve the delivery of services, provide transparent and easy to access modes of intercourse with the state machinery for the citizens. After assuming office at the Centre, with a campaign backed by robust technical infrastructure, Modi pushed for digitising the entire government machinery by making everything reaching in the hands of the mango man through his smart phone.

His hackathon did not stop there, he has promoted cheap smartphones, and with the Ambani Senior giving very cheap internet connectivity across India, the data generated and consumed by India has increased dramatically making India the largest user base of .com companies!

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and the others have the largest rising consumer base in India. Gmail has added the largest consumers in India in 2015-2016 alone. the point to be noted here is now, the internet of things is just not about the shallow internet that is being used but it is also the deep internet that is used for all perverse purposes.

The concept of ‘e-colonialism’ has found a very deep-rooted ground in the intellectual circles globally, thus China has secured its population from the devastating effects of the same, while India remains an open market for the hacker and the tech giant to use its enormous influence with the data at its disposal.

India has not yet developed a robust framework of laws to regulate the Internet of Things and has also not done a great deal to upgrade its law enforcement agencies to stay up to date. The wider prospects relate to many adverse data fallout which may be contained if not ruled out with the push of Aadhar.

The fact that India has not asked the data giants to install specific servers located in India to monitor and locate the content in India is the kind of attitude that would in the near future need a trade of data. The data regulation is the need of the hour and has to be dealt with a great care and attention.

The State apparatus has to make citizens aware of how to deploy the internet of Things constructively and make the most out of it while keeping their actual lives safer. The indulgence norms must also be promoted to cultivate a healthy internet savvy lifestyle which may keep the interests of the nation at the paramountcy so as to promote a data secure global fraternity.