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Old 30th December 2015, 16:20   #346
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

I must say I am surprised to find support for "Free basic" in this forum. What Facebook is doing is that it wants to redefine (or rather define) internet for people who have never heard of it and do not have the technical know-how to understand it. Facebook understands that "Free" works and combined with the financial might of the telecom operators, they will push this as "Internet". Once people get hooked on this, they will not even realise that there is this whole another vast internet out there. For them "Internet" will be what free basics provides.
Having accomplished that, now facebook controls it completely. Say you are a company or a site which wants to get your name out there. Facebook will come to you and say - join my platform.. I have so many million users already on it and I can even promote you if you pay me X rupees. (the argument is that facebook now says it will be free. The definition of free will change once the platform is established. In future free will be only access but users will not be able to see your offering. You want users to know you are here, that will cost you money).
No company is stupid enough to throw millions of rupees into advertising a "free product" unless the business case for recovering the money has already been made. Facebook is not a startup which can afford to burn money without repercussions.
As for the argument that facebook only provides a platform and that the TELCOS are the ones providing the cost of bandwidth, it would be naive to think that the telcos will give anything for free. I am sure they have agreements with facebook in place to share revenue once the platform takes off.
If facebook or telcos really want to connect the entire india, let them reduce the data charges. Remember mobile voice revolution happened in india as soon as costs came down. I remember the days when the cost of calling was Rs 15 per minute and there were very few users. Once costs came down, user base went up exponentially. No one said we need to connect India and offered calls for free in the early days of mobile. Imagine if BPL had offered free calls only to select set of numbers in early 1990's. I am sure a lot of people would have come to the conclusion that the mobile phones can be used to call only those numbers.
Internet is the last bastion of freedom so to speak. All television is controlled by politicians. I am sure you saw how the recent chennai floods were covered differently by different channels. If you has watched only sunTV, you would have thought the city was dead and only zombies were running around. If you had watched Jaya TV, you would have thought not even a drop of rain fell in the city. Internet provided us with some of more unbiased coverage of the floods.
Now think if Free basics decided that only one side of the argument can be heard on its platform (it can and it will do it). The millions of people who thought FB=Internet will not even have an opportunity to hear the other side. Information control is essential to the survival of a lot of political parties and companies and the free internet prevents them from being able to control information outflow. Free Basics is the first step towards that cloaked in the name of "Digital connectivity". Once it gets its way in, you will have "Congress Internet", "BJP internet" , "Reliance Internet" etc etc.
The getting the foot in is the difficult part right now. Once they get their foot in, trust me the door will be wide open for their friends waiting behind them. The internet as we know it today will be gone and we will wonder where it started. It started with Free Basics.

Last edited by etrast75 : 30th December 2015 at 16:21.
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Old 30th December 2015, 16:21   #347
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

What a lot of people (including Facebook, apparently) are assuming is the target set for this program can actually differentiate between free/restricted and paid/unrestricted internet, which is far from the truth.

If we put the urban (internet aware) market aside for a moment, the rural market is still at the level where majority of the consumer base only has a very basic (excuse the pun) idea of the what the internet is, if at all. Just for one example: A farmer using a govt. kiosk that helps him access data related to his profession might think that is the extent of the internet. If someone (FB or whoever) swaps out that system with one of their own such that the farmer can now only access data that FB (or whoever) chooses to let him access through their program, can we blindly assume the farmer can actually tell the difference? Can someone who has only ever consumed ONE thing, be automatically assumed to know and appreciate the differences when a MENU is suddenly placed in front of him? Does he even understand the existence and meaning of choice(s) in this context? Don't take my word, find a farmer in a village and figure it out yourself.

While we're all assuming that everyone is free to choose, we're broadly overlooking the fact that a lot of the target set may be unaware that a CHOICE even exists, let alone have enough information to make an informed decision. Does this program provide them enough information to make an INFORMED CHOICE, or does it just work on ASSUMPTIONS? I'd be glad if someone from the program can answer that.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 30th December 2015 at 16:24.
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Old 30th December 2015, 16:24   #348
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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 Chetan_Rao View Post
What a lot of people (including Facebook, apparently) are assuming is the target set for this program can actually differentiate between free/restricted and paid/unrestricted internet, which is far from the truth.
Nicely put. And this is what the battle is for. The ability for a company or a group of companies to define "Internet" for millions of people who have never heard of it before.
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Old 30th December 2015, 16:30   #349
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

What a scam?! If someone can claim rights for the title, 'Free Basics', then it should be Google. Free search, e-mail, maps, mobile OS etc.

So if Google can, then why can't Facebook? Well for one, Google is clear with one thing that their revenue is through advertising which of course depends a lot on reading our data. Facebook's claim that they are doing this for the poor is absolute BS. If buying Whatsapp for a huge sum was one desperate attempt to have more Users in it's fold, Internet.org/Free Basics is the next step.
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Old 30th December 2015, 17:35   #350
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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 WorkingGuru View Post
Atleast they're getting to choose to go somewhere, as of now we're keeping them contained at the same place.

We've been using mobile internet since a decade already, rural/poor India hasn't. Imagine how secluded we're allowing them to be (thru "market forces").
I see you have bought FB's argument hook, line and sinker. Poor already have access to regular Internet. The ones who have money for buying a smartphone and mobile connection, can already afford to buy data packs right now. I do live in rural area half the time, and see lots of them using whatsapp and other apps. For example, this is the Airtel data pack rate in KA.

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Originally Posted by WorkingGuru View Post
But can't they migrate to regular internet plans if they pay for the normal data pack? They can AFAIK.
Once they get it for free, most will stop buying data packs. Only some discerning customers will buy data pack to get full access, rest will try to manage with free basics, and unwittingly become digital slaves.

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I truly admire an idealistic approach in an ideal world sumurai, but this one isn't & I pity the rights of ones willing to access free internet also.
It is not idealism at all. I run a business that entirely depends on Internet. So I understand this domain and the repercussions of Free Basics way too well.

I said this in the very first page of this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Like the old jungle saying, there is an old Internet commerce saying... if you are not being charged by your vendor, then you are not their customer, you are their product.
If you don't understand what that means, then you will not understand why Free Basics is bad. And FB is banking on it.
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Old 30th December 2015, 19:07   #351
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One Net Neutrality activist from India tears into the arguments in support of Free Basics:

http://thewire.in/2015/12/30/faceboo...replies-18235/
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Old 31st December 2015, 12:47   #352
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Here is one from linkedin:

A billion people with blinkers on? By Sandeep Bhat
Dec 30, 2015

Over past few days, some of my not so tech savvy friends happened to ask me what all the fuss around ‘Free Basics’ was about. Here’s my take on the same.

For long, government was the only organization that built and maintained roads in our country and we could travel freely on these roads. However, connectivity was limited as there were fewer roads and well, we all know how the condition of those roads was.

Over time, to provide better infrastructure for the people, The Government, which owns the land of the country, auctioned a small part of it to M/s Reliable Roads to build and operate roads across the country. These roads would provide connectivity to people to travel from one place to another. To recover their costs (and make profits as well), they were allowed to charge toll money from people who used these roads for travel. Since there was a lot of land available and government did not want M/s Reliable Roads to monopolize and exploit the people, similar deals were extended to M/s Atele Ways and M/s Idealistic Roads and few more companies who then built their own respective road networks. It was further mandated that these companies provide inter-connectivity at pre-determined points. This enabled a person starting his journey on a road owned by say M/s Atele Ways to reach a destination that is connected only through the road owned by M/s Idealistic Roads.

This resulted in people being able to travel faster, to different destinations often. Also more people along these roads got connected to these highways over the years and each company vied with each other to get more and more people on their road network. This availability of road networks led to increase in travel and more and more people felt inclined to take to the road, inspite of being charged for travel on these roads.

As is bound to happen, over years, enterprising people sensing opportunity, opened businesses along these roads, where people could visit and buy whatever was available. People were happy, and these businesses were also happy. However, the road building and operating companies were not so happy. Reason being, more and more money was being spent by people in these businesses, than paying the toll to travel on the road.

M/s Altruistic Faces was one of the businesses that had prospered because of this network of highways. However, as all businesses they also wanted to grow. They calculated that more than 80% of the population was still not able to use these highways as they could not afford to pay the toll. So they hit up a brilliant business plan. They, along with M/s Reliable Roads decided to provide free access to these ‘unfortunate’ people with only and only ‘altruistic’ intention that they could also enjoy travel like others. They bombarded people with advertisements around how it would benefit them.

However, it came with some caveats like these

These people need to put blinkers on while traveling on these roads for free. These blinkers would enable them to only see and shop at M/s Altruistic Faces or its associates.
Any business wanting to sell anything to these people had to go through M/s Altruistic Faces and they would have to adhere to a set of guidelines decided by M/s Altruistic Faces. Only then could the people with blinkers on be able to see these businesses. Of course, these guidelines could be changed at the will of M/s Altruistic Faces anytime in future.
Because of these blinkers, these people would never come to know that other businesses (not part of M/s Altruistic Faces alliance) existed at all.
To take the blinkers off and to see the rest of the business along the road, people would have to pay toll like everyone else.
Well, what’s wrong with that? After all, people are getting to travel for free.

Isn’t it?

Well yes, they are. Or, are they?

Let’s visualize a bit further. Let’s say I am one of these ‘unfortunate persons’ who uses this ‘free highway’ provided by M/s Reliable Roads and M/s Altruistic Faces. One day I meet with an unfortunate accident and want to get to the closest hospital. Now, the only hospital that is part of M/s Altruistic Faces Alliance is the one that charges exorbitantly, has not so good doctors, and is 20 kilometers away. I don’t have any option but to go there, because of point #3 above. I would never know about another, better and cheaper hospital, that’s just a kilometer away even if it exists, because the hospital is not part of M/s Altrusitic Faces alliance.

Who’s the real beneficiary?

Sounds extreme? Ok, let's take another scenario. I am a poor farmer and am grateful to M/s Altruistic Faces and M/s Reliable Roads for providing me access to the highway and use it often. It’s time for me to buy seeds. Now, the only businesses open and available along this highway are the ones that advertise and sell Genetically Modified (GM) seeds. I’d never get to know about the drawbacks of using GM seeds because there is no other shop on this highway that provides the relevant information and/or sells non-GM seeds. Over time I would get brainwashed into buying GM seeds, because I am not aware alternatives exist.

Again, who is the real beneficiary here?

Now imagine a billion people with blinkers on! And decide for yourself who gets benefited, and who is the loser?

So, in conclusion, is the intention of M/s Altruistic Faces really ‘altruistic’ as is being portrayed in full-page ads? Of course not! It is pure business. Had it been ‘altruistic’, they would just allow people free access, without blinkers and let them make a ‘real’ informed choice. Let no one fool you!
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Old 31st December 2015, 13:17   #353
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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 ajitstreet View Post
One Net Neutrality activist from India tears into the arguments in support of Free Basics:

http://thewire.in/2015/12/30/facebooks-rebuttal-to-mahesh-murthy-on-free-basics-with-replies-18235/
Mr. Mahesh Murthy has literally kicked their backside

I am amazed at how Facebook is misleading people with their Free Basics campaign. The amount of money they've spent on this, they could have partnered Telcos and have provided free data to some limits for say people earning less. That would have been true freedom but this is just utterly useless. How they've been able to open a closed issue is another fact in itself. It seems we are destined to keep sending emails to TRAI till these guys don't have their way.

Unfortunately the last day was yesterday? I did send an email, but I am not sure if a lot of people did.

And as someone said, Internet is the last true bastion of freedom, control that and you've got everyone as slaves.
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Old 31st December 2015, 15:00   #354
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I think this is only going to cause a rude shock later on as by then it'd be too late.

What I don't understand is the amount of money spent on ads. While for profit making products/services I can understand, but for something free? I think this should raise a doubt in people's mind.

Also we Indians (unfortunately it's true) will run to anything free without thinking about it. Eg sales/ online offers etc actually may not be economical. India has a very large population not connected to internet. Facebook etc see this is an opportunity to monopolize the things available to such folk on the internet.

I think the govt should step up and make new rules regarding the internet. It's the next resource (information) and needs proper regulation.
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Old 31st December 2015, 15:57   #355
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Net Neutrality and one unfettered Internet are fundamental to the internet and WWW.

Facebook and their cohorts are simply misleading all and sundry with this "internet for poor" thing. If they are so worried about the poor getting access, why don't they sponsor 100MB of free internet access for all folks below poverty line, or from rural areas etc - where they tie up with ISPs and reimburse them ? Instead they spend 100 crores to advertise in English speaking dailies, and give misleading slogans and gather votes on FB to help the poor!

They want poor villagers and others to use only FB and other minor apps (data over which FB has full access), to lock all these users to FB and prevent fair competition. No access to internet, no google etc etc. FB will decide what is "basics" and what is "free" for hundreds of millions with them not having a say over it ('lured' in by free and what not), and fragment the internet. Tomorrow, if Company G makes a similar program and ropes in some of the ISPs, then you land up in dividing people into sub-internet A, B, C and so on!

In April, it was Internet.org which was as someone wrote "neither internet" nor ".org" since it was not non-profit. I opposed it by writing to TRAI, and now they have 'redressed' it under FreeBasics nonsense. Beware, FB has the right to insert ads etc into those apps in the future, though currently they are not doing so.


Please reject FreeBasics and vote for net neutrality - this FreeBasics thingy can cause very widespread and far lasting damage that even our next generations and beyond have to pay for - if we let it pass through based on high profile campaigning and ad spend by a Corporation (FB sounds like OCP to me from the movie).
Visit the site below (for example)
http://www.savetheinternet.in/

Here's one analogy I wrote to TRAI last time on their consultation paper.
------------------------------------
Question 4: Should the Internet/OTT players pay for use of the Telecom Operators network over and above data charges paid by consumers? If yes, what pricing options can be adopted? Could such options include prices based on bandwidth consumption? Can prices be used as a means of product/service differentiation? Please comment with justifications.

NO. Internet access is a commodity. Just like the a Maruti 800 owner and a Mercedes owner fill the same petrol, and pay the same price, similarly web browsing, Skype, other Internet Apps all use the same Internet Access medium and must pay the same price. If Mercedes owner consumes more fuel per month, he pays more at the same unit price. If an App uses more data over the month, it will contribute to higher data charge bill for the subscriber over the month at the same unit price.Internet-based services and apps don’t pay for telecom operators for using the network, and it should remain the same going forward. Forcing Internet-based services to pay extra for using a particular network negatively impact consumers and harm the Indian digital ecosystem. As mentioned in the above answer, data revenues of Indian telecom operators is already on an upswing and is slated to increase rapidly over the next few years, hence the argument for creating a new revenue source is not justified.

Charging users extra for specific apps or services will overburden them, which in turn will lead to them not using the services at all. It is also akin to breaking up the Internet into pieces, which is fundamentally against what Net Neutrality stands for. Also, the Internet depends on interconnectivity and the users being able to have seamless experience - differential pricing will destroy the very basic tenets of the Internet.

Last edited by lancer_rit : 31st December 2015 at 16:02.
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Old 31st December 2015, 16:53   #356
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Finally some sense and good News:

Consultation paper is not an opinion poll: TRAI chairman
Source:
http://www.thehindu.com/business/Ind...?homepage=true

While the time-frame has been extended by 7 days for more views and not just "I like Free Basics" - It gives others a chance as well to get their views counted.

Nice Year End gift to Facebook!

Last edited by pratyush6 : 31st December 2015 at 16:55.
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Old 31st December 2015, 20:08   #357
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Anyone who reads up on the strategies of Su.. er Zuckerberg would know that his agenda is simple, gather the sheep via Facebook, then when the sheep jumped ship to Whatsapp, buy Whatsapp itself. Next since the new goal is to round up about 7 billion sheep, buy out the internet itself.

What next? Issue free phones & laptops as bait? Monopolize water? Essential commodities?

Last edited by dark.knight : 31st December 2015 at 20:10.
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Old 31st December 2015, 22:50   #358
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

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What next? Issue free phones & laptops as bait? Monopolize water? Essential commodities?
Yes, we seem to be heading that way- big time. So many sheeple
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Old 2nd January 2016, 20:40   #359
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

All that fooling of FB members didn't work out. TRAI can't accept it due to technicality.

http://www.trai.gov.in/WriteReadData...No.1of2016.pdf
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Old 4th January 2016, 11:42   #360
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Default Re: The fight for net neutrality is on! Time to reclaim the internet

Ganesh is back with Zuckerberg in TOI with a full 2 page plea to the masses to let him browse the internet.
For a newspaper/service which has been purportedly demonstrating full defiance of airtel etcetera's platform, the sale was made for ad space, yeah?
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