When Net neutrality debate hit India we all turned berserk. Even the most average Joe knew that this was wrong. End result? Airtel backed out of the so called ‘free internet pack’
But stupidity is always subjected to market conditions.
*calming down and coming to subject*
Only yesterday the so called #FreeBasics debate picked up on twitter (also my second home) and within fifteen minutes between a few calls and DMs we fixed up a special emergency session of Blogchatter titled:
Free Basics & Net Neutrality and Blogging
And the very lovely Malhar Barai volunteered as the guest host helping us navigate through the intricacies of subject at hand.
Summing up the discussion through very basic points here:
- Net Neutrality means an internet where all websites are allowed equal speed, bandwidth to operate with. So called democracy of internet.
- Achieving net neutrality calls for investment in infrastructure and technology by a country. So far in spirit no country has implemented net neutrality completely, Ecuador is the only nation which has come closest.
- Free Basics is the re-branded version of Facebook’s internet.org which claims helping internet reach to developing and underdeveloped nations such as rural India, Africa.
- Under Free Basics, certain websites will be available for free to users including Facebook. These websites will be those which have entered an agreement with Facebook *subject to conditions*
- Free Basics will mean websites and organisations with muscle and clout and money will be pushed up. It will see the death of blogs as we know them today.
- Free Basics also means content in all forms will be channelised by Facebook so often ruling governments can ensure information (misinformation) of kinds they wish to communicate gets through.
- Free Basics reaches to people who are most subjected to disturbances of all kinds such as many African nations.
- Content and user usage will be completely observed and recorded by Facebook.
- Start-ups as we know it today will need to add an extra investment in the form of pushing their websites to so called ‘free basics’. Competition from smaller players to likes of Flipkart, Snapdeal will almost be negated.
- Internet is also media. For now not paid by somebody. Free Basics will ensure this will change
Hence this post is being issued in public interest. Do not click on the Facebook’s option of sending a message to Trai. Do not additionally invite people to do so if you have already done it. As a damage control, suggest to put out a message to discourage other friends into following suit.
In case you have a doubt, will leave you with a few more things to ponder.
- Facebook is a profitable organisation. It cannot build something where the model is for free.
- If you do not understand something clearly always think of the economics of things.
- Free Basics, in my opinion, is like Blood diamonds. Blood and money will both be shed. Rest assured.
- Facebook is no google, if it is given power it will play. All sorts of power games. This is governed by a man who decided to market the birth of his first born.
We believe in something:
Content can be peace and war. Content can be biased and unbiased. But providing of content should be neither.
They say flutter of a butterfly can cause a storm somewhere. Your click can cause one very near to you.
Make an informed choice.
You can scroll down and find the storified version of the chat for further info and opinion.
Also connecting it with WriteTribe’s #MondayMusings
Storified version of Sunday’s Blogchatter chat on “Free Basics & Net Neutrality and Blogging” with Malhar Barai is below: