Airtel and Tata Indicom the providers of broadband Internet in India are trying to cap the broadband speeds. There are also talks about policing the content which you read. Your Internet will be monitored for both the content and download limit. You can kiss YouTube a goodbye. Gosh! This almost feels like China.
This is nothing new which the Indian providers are trying out. No real innovation but just a mimic of what the providers of The US has done already. And if you think the speeds which these providers are promising then you need to read this and this.
Broadband Forum has a initiative as a response to the fair usage policy :
In an nutshell, what it means is that if you have an unlimited plan that is, say, 512kbps in speed,Â after a certain cap they will halve your speed to 256kbps for the rest of the month, while charging you the same amount that they have been charging you till now for 512kbps for the whole month!!!Â Essentially they are giving you less (up to 45% less) service but for the same price!!!Â And the cap can be reached in as quick as 5-6 days if you are a heavy user. (afup.broadbandforum.in)
What is ironic is, with the kind of web application we are seeing online, the usage will only increase. Its not me, its the application stupid! Instead of competing hard for the next subscriber by promising superior speeds, Indian providers are taking the low ground. With the existing speeds it is really difficult to do anything meaningful. Adding a cap to the speed is like going back to the 90’s.
There are software’s which blocks images and ads to reduce your usage. This would be a disaster for the online ad industry. Which means everybody is hit including Airtel and Advani. Do we want that? Isn’t that unhealthy? It sure is. Most of the startups are counting on broadband. If Airtel and Tata has their way, then we might just kill too many industries which could result in a huge unemployment in this highly populated country of ours.
After having my share of worries with a local broadband provider I took the plunge and changed to BSNL. Life has been good and there are no limits so far. May be it is good to go back to the PSU’s even though there is bureaucracy involved. That would be a fitting reply to the private sector.
Private sector might have gotten a little too complacent as there is no competition from public sector. They can come together as and make decisions just like a cartel. If they are controlling a majority of market share who will stop them.
All these policies are dubbed under the brand name : Fair Usage. But, fair usage to whom?
PS: We haven’t yet laid out our pipes in full but we are already talking about the taps. One last time – this is ironic and unfortunate.