Mark Zuckerberg affirms net neutrality but backs zero-rating plans in his internet.org at his visit to India
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company is committed to net neutrality but supported zero-rating plans which have been criticised by many as violative of the principles of free Internet.
Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six companies (Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Opera Software, Nokia and Qualcomm) that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access.
It has been criticized for violating net neutrality and favoring Facebook’s own services over its rivals.
Internet.org as “being just a Facebook proxy targeting India’s poor” as it provides restricted Internet access to Reliance Telecom’s subscribers in India.
In May 2015, Facebook announced that the Internet.org Platform would be opened to websites that met its criteria.
Facebook Zero, is an initiative by Facebook to improve Internet access for people around the world.
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.
The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003.
How did net neutrality shape the internet?
1. web users are free to connect to whatever website or service they want. ISPs do not bother with what kind of content is flowing from their servers. This has allowed the internet to grow into a truly global network and has allowed people to freely express themselves.
2.To start a website, you don’t need lot of money or connections. Just host your website and you are good to go. If your service is good, it will find favour with web users.
This has led to creation Google, Facebook, Twitter and countless other services.
They succeeded because net neutrality allowed web users to access these websites in an easy and unhindered way.
What will happen if there is no net neutrality?
If there is no net neutrality, ISPs will have the power to shape internet traffic so that they can derive extra benefit from it.
For example, several ISPs believe that they should be allowed to charge companies for services like YouTube and Netflix because these services consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website.
Basically, these ISPs want a share in the money that YouTube or Netflix make.
Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it will not exist.
Instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers.
Lack of net neutrality, will also spell doom for innovation on the web.
It is possible that ISPs will charge web companies to enable faster access to their websites.
Those who don’t pay may see that their websites will open slowly. This means bigger companies like Google will be able to pay more to make access to Youtube or Google+ faster for web users but a startup that wants to create a different and better video hosting site may not be able to do that.
Instead of an open and free internet, without net neutrality we are likely to get a web that has silos in it and to enter each silo, you will have to pay some “tax” to ISPs.
What is the state of net neutrality in India?
Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India.
TRAI(Telecom Regulatory Authority of India), which regulates the telecom industry, has tried to come up with some rules regarding net neutrality several times.But no formal rules have been formed to uphold and enforce net neutrality.
However, despite lack of formal rules, ISPs in India mostly adhere to the principal of net neutrality.
There have been some incidents where Indian ISPs have ignored net neutrality but these are few and far between.
(courtesy:Business standard, Times of India)
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.