1. US is junking net neutrality as it made no sense, it is even more redundant in India

US is junking net neutrality as it made no sense, it is even more redundant in India

US junking net neutrality as it made no sense—it is even more redundant in India where the net needs to be built out

By: | Published: November 23, 2017 3:54 AM
US telecom regulator, US net neutrality, Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai , VoLTE networks, india, cellular networks , WhatsApp Indian telcos had a point when they argued for regulations on players like WhatsApp who were riding on their networks for free and forcing them to invest more for returns that were diminishing. (Reuters)

The US telecom regulator, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), moving to repeal Obama-era net neutrality regulations should knock some wind out of the sails of a sustained campaign in India for similar expansive control of the internet, treating it as a public utility. While the FCC, under chairman Ajit Pai said “the FCC will no longer be in the business of micromanaging business models and preemptively prohibiting services and applications and products that could be pro-competitive”, there is even more reason for countries like India to not even consider US-like net neutrality.

While the US was focusing on curbing the powers of ISPs under president Obama, the internet in that country is mostly built out—and even then the big telcos said they would stop investing if their powers were curbed. In India, by contrast, the internet is mostly provided on cellular networks and internet penetration remains woefully small with less than a third of the population covered; that with high-speed broadband speeds is still smaller. In such a situation, telcos need to be encouraged to grow instead of curbs being put on their operations—it doesn’t help that, thanks to ill-conceived government policies, most telcos are anyway bleeding and closing down. Indian telcos had a point when they argued for regulations on players like WhatsApp who were riding on their networks for free and forcing them to invest more for returns that were diminishing—none of the net neutrality activists in India who protested against this have an answer for who will pay for rolling out the internet for the rest of India if telco profits are sacrificed. Oddly, when telcos are providing subsidised handsets that are locked to their networks—vital to increased internet access on VoLTE networks—no activists are protesting though, in some sense, these do look like the “walled gardens” they were protesting earlier.

  1. N
    Nitin
    Nov 23, 2017 at 9:57 am
    This is basically a media pimping for a Telco. I will tell you why. Telcos were given an extended free run for a decade, when they reaped in profits and instead of blreinvesting and bettering services here, they went on an expansion drive in another continent. The economies of scale and the population density in India provides has no parallel anywhere in the world. Telcos get their best bang for the buck in this geography. And yet they cut a sorry figure. The likes of WhatsApp, , and search is what is driving data usage. And if telcos feel that they are making a loss because of these services, they are missing the wood for the trees. Five years back nobody wanted more than 300 mb a month. Now people spend that amount of data in a few hours. Net neutrality is more relevant in a developing model than one where a situation has been created and correcting it is the challenge. The writer here implies that we first met the cancer build up and then try figuring out the damage.
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