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Old 16th April 2015, 14:21   #136
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I don't have to speculate. After 22 years on Internet, I have seen all kinds of deals and their effect.

Being in a city you think there is lots of choice for everybody. Not so. At my rural office I am stuck with Tata because only they offer 1:1 fiber connection to my office. I have no choice of switching. At my home, only Airtel offers reliable broadband. BSNL is very notorious in this area.
Here you are making an erroneous assumption - that Tata would only provide the closed internet. The closed internet would only be a zero-cost or low-cost option. The free one would come at the regular prices. So I fail to see what would be different from what it is now.
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Old 16th April 2015, 14:41   #137
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Here you are making an erroneous assumption - that Tata would only provide the closed internet.
Interesting... where did I make that assumption? I only said one can't shop around for ISPs in rural areas.
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Old 16th April 2015, 15:02   #138
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

It seems most of the defenders of Airtel Zero, on the forum or otherwise, including this Srini chap, are concentrating on and harping about the immediate / short-term effects of the said product. And there, in the short term, they are absolutely correct!

But, and this is a big but, what happens say 2-3 years down the line, once the consumer base has been consolidated, traditional data plans wiped out of the market and the initial period of turbulence is over, then the platform would be ripe for (ab)use.

It is then that it will hit both start-ups and consumers. New players would be asked to pay hefty fees to get on to the network, and they in turn would need to pass on that cost to the consumer.

Now, if someone expects (or hopes) that Airtel would behave like a Saint, given such a market opportunity, they better think again, or better, sift through the history of VAS in India, or look at how Airtel runs it's Broadband operations.
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Old 16th April 2015, 15:04   #139
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Interesting... where did I make that assumption? I only said one can't shop around for ISPs in rural areas.
Well then, I made the assumption :-)

My point was that if you don't have the option to switch ISPs, you can switch plans. If my assumption was wrong, please ignore. :-)
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Old 16th April 2015, 15:59   #140
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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The question is:

Should one evaluate the (end product + transport) together for quality of service to the consumer or both of them independently to add to permutations/combinations and hence decide on choice of both separately.
Let's take an example, that of mobile phones & subscriber plans.

In markets where the mobile network operators (MNOs) sell mobile phones with bundled voice plans, or smartphones with bundled voice & data plans, generally customers have been grossly mislead by the MNOs schemes of "subsidising" smartphone prices (or even offering them for "free"), as long as they signed up for the MNO's long term contracts (which involve footing the bill for a couple of years or paying up contract termination fees). This leads to customers generally ending up on the losing side - inflated bills, poor/no coverage in some areas, poor data speeds in others, locked phones, having to deal with carrier-installed crapware on smartphones & reduced smartphone OS updates (Android OS is badly cursed with these two), having to deal with other carrier shenanigans (such as charging one extra for using the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot) et cetera, et cetera.

An individual would end up as a virtual slave to the MNOs' monopolistic business practices and greedy shenanigans without any mode of immediate escape that doesn't cost one heavily. The smartphone may seem "subsidised" or even "free" at first glance, but the trade-off is losing one's freedom and liberty, and ending up as a virtual paying slave to the MNO till the end of the contract.

Contrast this with the model applicable in markets where customers purchase mobile phones separately, and sign up for a SIM separately. It may seem as if one has to pay a "higher" price for the smartphone at first glance, but the end result is that the customer is the winner in such a market which is much freer and far more competitive than the carrier-subsidised rubbish model. The customer retains his freedom and liberty to choose whatever he wants and for however long he wants it, or to completely ditch the phone & plan and go mobile-free, without having to pay anyone anything.

Unhappy with a phone? No problem - trade it in for another and insert the old SIM. Unhappy with a MNO's coverage in some areas or poor data speeds? No problem - ditch the MNO, port the number and switch over to another operator. Want to shift from pre-paid to post-paid or vice-versa? No problem - do whatever you please, whenever you feel like it. Want to use a single phone, but have two different numbers? No problem - buy a dual SIM mobile. Want to take advantage of both GSM & CDMA coverage? No problem - buy a phone which supports the two. Want to subscribe to one MNO's voice & SMS plans and another's data plans on the same phone? No problem - do as you please. The benefits are endless, the freedom one has is completely liberating, one is not at the mercy of MNOs and their shenanigans, poor service, monopolistic trade practices etc.

The choice is clear as far as I am concerned. It is about the individual, his/her interests, freedom, liberty and choice. The latter model which espouses all these and more wins each time and every time.

The bundled carrier subsidised rubbish model, on the other hand, is all about the MNOs' freedom to enslave customers for the long term, it's all about the carriers' liberty to force monopolistic & restrictive trade practices on hapless customers, dictate terms to mobile phone manufacturers and content developers, and indulge in all kinds of similar practices.

It's a choice between the freedom & liberty of individuals, as against the freedom & liberty of monopolistic/oligopolistic/government-controlled entities to virtually trap and exploit individuals over the long term.

It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.

Last edited by RSR : 16th April 2015 at 16:14.
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Old 16th April 2015, 17:05   #141
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Being in a city you think there is lots of choice for everybody. Not so. At my rural office I am stuck with Tata because only they offer 1:1 fiber connection to my office. I have no choice of switching. At my home, only Airtel offers reliable broadband. BSNL is very notorious in this area.
I understand your pain, but can you think of reason why only Tata is available at your place. If indeed there is a sizable market that can be profitably reaped, why no one else is there (to 'exploit')?

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But, and this is a big but, what happens say 2-3 years down the line, once the consumer base has been consolidated, traditional data plans wiped out of the market and the initial period of turbulence is over, then the platform would be ripe for (ab)use.
Is Airtel the only ISP in India?

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Originally Posted by RSR View Post
This leads to customers generally ending up on the losing side - inflated bills, poor/no coverage in some areas, poor data speeds in others, locked phones, having to deal with carrier-installed crapware on smartphones & reduced smartphone OS updates (Android OS is badly cursed with these two), having to deal with other carrier shenanigans (such as charging one extra for using the phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot) et cetera, et cetera.
And yet they continue with the same provider ... ?
Quote:
Contrast this with the model applicable in markets where customers purchase mobile phones separately, and sign up for a SIM separately. It may seem as if one has to pay a "higher" price for the smartphone at first glance, but the end result is that the customer is the winner in such a market which is much freer and far more competitive than the carrier-subsidised rubbish model. The customer retains his freedom and liberty to choose whatever he wants and for however long he wants it, or to completely ditch the phone & plan and go mobile-free, without having to pay anyone anything.
I believe in many countries both options (lock-in and unlocked) are available as a choice.
Do we have any numbers as to what customers really prefer in these countries?


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Originally Posted by hellmet View Post
Let's assume they tie up with NDTV. Now all your news will come to you from one source - anyone that wants to manipulate the masses now has a tool that reaches everyone for free. So, manipulate NDTV news sources and mission achieved.

Next, let's say Airtel ties up with Sakshi (Jagan owned news). Now, all your news will be Jagan favoring news. Will you ever be able to find out about anything/anyone else?

That is what is scary. It always starts small.
Airtel ties up with NDTV, Idea ties up with IBN, Reliance ties up with some other group and so on.
And you are scared that the news may be manipulated and thus the public can be mislead?
Are these news channels, as of now, unbiased?
Do Airtel, Idea or any other telecom provider hold a monopoly and thus can sway a sizable population according to their news channels?

Last edited by alpha1 : 16th April 2015 at 17:13.
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Old 16th April 2015, 17:36   #142
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post

But, and this is a big but, what happens say 2-3 years down the line, once the consumer base has been consolidated, traditional data plans wiped out of the market and the initial period of turbulence is over, then the platform would be ripe for (ab)use.

It is then that it will hit both start-ups and consumers. New players would be asked to pay hefty fees to get on to the network, and they in turn would need to pass on that cost to the consumer.
Nobody has seen the future. So you can't take anybody's freedom away just based on speculation. Not just Airtel, Reliance or Adani, even mango men are rogue. They only look at profits not public welfare. But I believe that free markets would force them to be good - or at least play good. It is difficult to regulate. The more you try to regulate, the more they try to find loopholes. A free market is where the market regulates by itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSR View Post
It's a choice between the freedom & liberty of individuals, as against the freedom & liberty of monopolistic/oligopolistic/government-controlled entities to virtually trap and exploit individuals over the long term.

It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.
I think that the freedom of all entities, big or small, rogue or saint is equally important. The corporations should be allowed to exercise their freedom, cos it is not up to us to decide who is what. It is for the market to decide. We can all vote with our wallets.
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Old 16th April 2015, 17:38   #143
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Well look what Trai says now

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/46938313.cms

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"From the looks of it, Airtel Zero and many other plans including Facebook's Internet.org tie-up with Reliance Communications and the free WhatsApp, Facebook offers by other telcos seem to violate net neutrality," said a senior Trai official .
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Old 16th April 2015, 18:04   #144
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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TRAI, Airtel, Flipkart, Facebook, Cleartrip ... Govt of India ... are all victims of the mob mentality and are trying to be politically correct.

During the Uber rape case, anyone exonerating Uber was seen as in same side with the rapist, therefore not many had courage to speak sense.

Net neutrality has become one such politicized case.
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Old 16th April 2015, 18:57   #145
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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TRAI, Airtel, Flipkart, Facebook, Cleartrip ... Govt of India ... are all victims of the mob mentality and are trying to be politically correct.
So you mean to say the learned people in India and Abroad who have already given repeated verdicts against such practices are all misled and mis-informed?

Well as someone said this is going to be a never ending debate, and i consider internet or rather access to it, as important as access to water and air, and believe it should be neutral in all manner possible.

Let us agree to disagree on that!
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Old 16th April 2015, 19:27   #146
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

I know this is debated so much everywhere but still canít resist myself.

For all AirTel Zero supporters.

Que: I am anyways spending most of my internet data on Facebook, WhatsApp and Google, Whatís wrong if I am not being charged? Isnít that very simple?

Counter Question : What If there is some messenger application comes which is a.) provide batter performance b.) has more features would you still down load and use it since it may attract more charge now? If not you are locked to WhatsApp

What if tomorrow one oil marketing company gives discount to Altos? Anyways most entry level car buyers uses Alto but doesnít it kill competition (even if it is already small)? You still have choice to switch petrol pump but would you?
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Old 16th April 2015, 19:29   #147
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

If AirTel is so eager to contribute to Digital India, why aren't any govt websites that offer services to customers not on AirTel Zero platform? Won't those sites be more useful to people than free FB or Twitter or Flipkart?

Let's suppose the AirTel Zero platform was designed a little bit differently:
- AirTel provides "zero-cost internet" with no restriction on sites, but severe restrictions on data rates and download limits
- Flipkart and the like can then sign up to the platform and say that if such a "zero cost internet" user buys something from Flipkart, they pay X% of the sale to AirTel. FB or NDTV can say that access to their sites from "zero cost internet" users will get AirTel a miniscule % of their ad revenues. They can all have a "We Stand For Digital India" badge on their sites!!
- AirTel can also cross-subsidise "zero cost internet" by increasing prices for other data plans which offer higher data rates and download limits

AirTel can hope to increase their subscriber base and that once users are hooked on to the internet, some percentage of them will be willing to move to higher cost data plans for better experience.

Flipkart/FB/NDTV can thus all show their commitment to Digial India. Their customer base becomes wider, but so does the competition's and they have to somehow differentiate their service to survive - basically same as now.

You won't probably able to stream a video from a startup video sharing site with the restricted data rates, but that's ok because you can't stream a video from YouTube as well. If YouTube makes an innvotation that can stream videos at low data rates and the video startup cannot, they will get left behind. But that is fair enough because they had equal opportunity to succeed, but couldn't.

So why can't the internet be "zero cost" and "free"?
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Old 16th April 2015, 20:04   #148
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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AirTel can hope to increase their subscriber base and that once users are hooked on to the internet, some percentage of them will be willing to move to higher cost data plans for better experience.
Why would I even think of moving on to a higher cost plan if I am already getting something for free. That just doesn't make sense to a regular user.

Actually it appears that its for free but I am paying for it indirectly as I buy something off of flipkart or when i click on all those facebook ads. But I don't know there is a better deal out there on the free open internet because i don't have a paid plan that offers me equal access.
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Old 16th April 2015, 20:35   #149
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......
The current outrage is for proposal pending with TRAI, being intensely lobbyed by top telecom operators. Link to document: http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReaddata...P-27032015.pdf

According to this proposal, telecom operators can control/regulate over-the-top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Skype.
While we are talking about one part of it, where the ISP decides which sites are free, the other area of checking the content and charging is equally bad.

Section 2.8 on page 12 mentions "Competition, Loss of value of traditional services offered" for messaging apps and social networking sites. By the same logic, should'nt the Postal Authorities and couriers blame loss of business due to emails and telephones. If I did not have an email account or a telephone (landline or mobile), I would have used the good old postal service. I think, the mobile companies need to see how they could innovate and ensure that they remain in business rather than trying to cry foul for losing revenue to messaging apps!!

Last edited by raghu.t.k : 16th April 2015 at 20:36.
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Old 16th April 2015, 20:38   #150
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

In the space of a month I have gone from "Net Neutrality- huh...what's that?" to "Yeah OK but what's the big deal?" to "OMG THEY CAN'T TAKE AWAY OUR FREEDOM LIKE THIS!!"

Needless to say the AIB video helped a lot. And this very interesting debate on CNBC was actually what turned the tide for me (warning: it's mostly in Hindi). Especially loved the way the initially-neutral anchor gets increasingly aggressive against the COAI representative who goes from smug to hapless in no time!



Those still on the fence, I urge you to read up on this subject in more detail. This thread itself is a great source of accurate information. Thankfully the tide of informed public opinion is forcing the Flipkarts and Cleartrips to re-examine their position on net neutrality and it does seem TRAI and the Government of India will do the right thing in the end. It's a scary prospect though- imagine if this had gone through just like so many other laws do. Where you buy stuff, what videos you watch, what instant chat service you use--- all would be determined (or at least controlled) by whether you're a Vodafone or Airtel or Reliance customer. If that doesn't freak the bejeesus outta you, nothing will!
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