COAI Officially Launches SabKaInternet Platform To Legally Kill Net Neutrality
A famous management quote from Harry Truman says, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them”
It seems COAI has adopted this new mantra when it comes to Freedom of Internet in India. Unable to convince Indian citizens regarding the discriminatory plans and anti-net neutrality stand, they have officially launched SabKaInternet campaign yesterday.
Few days back, we had raised questions about COAI’s new propaganda. They had sent SMSes to all GSM users and giving calls to mobilize support, without actually showcasing what it is all about.
As per the official press release, “COAI, the association of India’s top mobile service operators, telecom equipment manufacturers, infrastructure and content service providers, represented by the CEOs of its member companies, today announced “Sabka Internet, Sabka Vikas”, an initiative to connect the 1 Billion unconnected citizens of India.”
Hence, with a ‘noble’ aim of connecting the next 1 billion Indians with Internet, SabKaInternet has been cleverly designed to garner maximum support for this campaign; after all who doesn’t want more connected Indians?
In the disguise of social work, almost like Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org project, COAI says, “Launching the online platform www.sabkainternet.in, COAI reiterated that the Internet should be for all and not remain the preserve of a few.”
All the major telecom providers were mentioned in this official press release: Mr. Ashok Sharma of Aircel, Mr. Gopal Vittal of Airtel, Mr. Himanshu Kapania of Idea Cellular, Mr. Shanker Adawal of Reliance Jio, Mr. Rajiv Bawa of Telenor, Mr. Arvind Bali of Videocon, and Mr. Sunil Sood of Vodafone India.
Interestingly, on one hand COAI says,” We offer choice and do not block or provide any preferential access to any web site or app”, and on the other hand they are charging more money for accessing few websites and giving free access to other websites.
Supporting Digital India campaign, COAI says, “India’s telecom revolution has empowered over 950 million citizens through affordable services and the Internet revolution must now touch every citizen of the country.”
But the hidden meaning in this statement is that, COAI wants the ‘poor’ Indians to experience ‘their version of Internet’; only surf those websites which are free, under their brilliant marketing campaigns. Not only will such discriminated access lead to uninformed Internet users, but it will also kill innovation and new ideas. But sadly, these points were not mentioned in that press release.
Very deliberately, and intentionally, COAI has raised all the valid points which support Net Neutrality and Freedom of Internet, but at the same time their association members are coming up plans and schemes which crush the same fundamentals under the disguise of ‘free’.
TRAI Receives 10 Lakh Emails Supporting Net Neutrality
Meanwhile, as the deadline for TRAI’s consultation paper on the aspect of Net Neutrality closed yesterday, Over 10.5 lakh emails have been sent to TRAI in to support the cause.
— Bulletin Babu (@bulletinbabu) April 24, 2015
As per SaveTheInternet.in’s statement, this is one of the biggest response ever received for a cause which concerns Internet in India.
Uninor Introduces Anti-Net Neutrality Plans
Meanwhile, joining the likes of Reliance and Airtel, Uninor has updated their plans which grossly violates net neutrality. As per their new Internet plans, VoIP feature of Facebook and WhatsApp is not part of the standard Internet plans.
Hence, the customer has to pay extra for using these features; and users can imagine what can happen once COAI is able to implement their version of Internet: Separate data packs and plans for virtually all the websites and OTTs.
We request to COAI, that please do not attempt to control the Internet with your coalition power. Internet is a basic human right as per UN, and no one should be able to dictate which websites they can access. Moreover, spectrum is a national resource, and telecom companies have only been provided with license to use them for a specific period.
We expect and hope that Indian startups will not fall for this trap, and encourage free and fair Internet distribution and pricing in India.