Two weeks ago, I came across a notification on Facebook, some friends of mine sent messages to TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) about Free Basics. It went further asking me to write my own! A lightning thought struck me, is this another trick to lure people into sending loads of messages to TRAI, affecting the decision of TRAI last year to maintain a Neutral Internet? The very next moment my inner voice said, Yes, it is!
It got me thinking, how imprudent people can be at times! These same people demanded “Net Neutrality” about a year ago, there were discussions, people wrote a million messages to TRAI along with some funny explanations as to why it should be maintained! But, the same ones are now writing messages to TRAI asking an action that violates the very essence of the freedom of internet? Even the officials at TRAI must be surprised as to what this populace really want from them!?
A simple idea of free access to basic internet services (although a very noble thought on Facebook’s part, or is it?) made people forget the logic, simply go with the flow as all of their friends are doing and initiate actions which will have drastic effects on the future of Internet access across the country!
In answer to why I will not send (and urge you to think before you act) any such message to authorities:
- Facebook will use this support to show authorities that many people want a free basic access to Internet Service, i.e. Free Basics which infringes the NET NEUTRALITY and undermines the very concept of Freedom of Internet.
- Recent offers of Free Basics by Facebook on Reliance demonstrates a very clear picture as to how it violates “a free Internet”. Obviously, the people will be attracted to Reliance for the same reason given the large number of people using Facebook and especially, if they can get access without paying a dime.
- This will entail a series of requests/complaints by other companies to TRAI for being partial just a few months ago regarding implementation of similar Free Access services resulting in increased complexities.
- Finally, it will kickoff the demand for Over-The-Top service services influencing all network service providers to switch to similar strategies.
Next, we all are aware of the consequences. The very same warriors who fought the battle to save the Freedom of Internet shall turn out to be the ones who sold it!
And you cannot undo it! So, please, today I request all the members of cyber world, do not be fooled, do not sign petitions for a concept you were virulently against just a few months ago!
Recently, the Government banned Free Basics by Facebook on Reliance. So now, Facebook is involving in a social dilemma with notifications like “The right to Free Basics is in danger in India…”, do NOT FALL for it.
Make choices carefully, examine not just instantaneous but also any future outcomes, what would you like, Free Internet, or “a freely available internet”!