Citizens' Issues
Aye to Net neutralists but work just begins
On Monday afternoon, India's telecom regulator finally put to rest the fiery net neutrality debate in India -- by ruling against zero rating and differential tariffs.
 
Zero rating lets Airtel users use Facebook, for instance, free of data levies, while charging for access to other services or websites.
 
This violates net neutrality, which says there should be no differential pricing -- free data for one service, but priced for another -- based on the content or web sites.
 
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has now forbidden such "discriminatory pricing" by whatever name it may be called.
 
The watchdog's ruling is clear and sharp, and a blow to Facebook's high-stakes Free Basics platform, born as Internet.org, as well as to Airtel Zero and other zero-rating platforms tried out, or planned, by telcos.
 
The year-long battle between the heavyweights, including telecom giants and Facebook, and a bunch of volunteers under the SaveTheInternet.in banner, was fiery, and seemingly unequal.
 
Facebook ploughed in an estimated Rs.300 crore into its three-month campaign defending Free Basics. Against it, though, the lone volunteer-activists gradually managed to drum up a great deal of public support.
 
A spokesman said Facebook was "disappointed with the outcome, but we will continue our efforts to eliminate barriers and give the unconnected an easier path to the internet and the opportunities it brings".
 
Expectedly, the activists were ecstatic.
 
"This is a historic outcome," said Kiran Jonnalagadda, a co-founder of the SaveTheInternet.in movement.
 
"For the first time, India leads where the US and Europe will follow. Many thanks to TRAI chairman R.S. Sharma for backing such an important ruling as his first major act in office."
 
The TRAI ruling got widespread applause, including from tech association Nasscom, which had given a submission supporting net neutrality. Its Internet council chairman Sanjeev Bikhchandani said the ruling would "help address apprehensions of young start-ups fearing lack of a level playing field."
 
Entrepreneur Arvind Jha of TiE said the collective power of 7,000 start-ups (whose founders had written to the PMO supporting Net Neutrality) and a dedicated team of volunteers has won over Facebook's ad blitzkrieg running into hundreds of crores of rupees.
 
So have David and the good guys vanquished Goliath, ending the battle?
 
The reality may be more nuanced than that. A battle much bigger than activists versus Facebook is up ahead: Providing Internet access to nearly a billion Indians who are offline, or nominally online, today.
 
First, the nuances.
 
Facebook is responsible for a great deal of the Internet penetration in India. Of the 300 million mobile users who make up over 90 percent of India's internet base, 56 percent use WhatsApp daily, and 51 percent use Facebook, according to a TNS survey released last October.
 
So, at least two out of every three Internet users in India use mobile data -- purely to use one or the other of Facebooks apps, including WhatsApp. It would be great to find a net-neutral way to let users access the apps or sites they need to (which may include WhatsApp or Facebook), free, or cheaply.
 
The Net neutrality movement, and now TRAI, have shot down Free Basics, which would have got Facebook and a few select apps free of data charges to subscribers of one telco (Reliance Communications).
 
But TRAI hasn't yet suggested what alternatives could be used to provide cheap or free Internet access to the hundreds of millions of mobile users who are unable or unwilling to pay for mobile data.
 
And no! They don't have access to even wireline broadband.
 
The watchdog did ask that question in its consultation paper. So we're all hoping it will yet come up with some workable ideas.
 
There are several options as well.
 
For instance, letting telecom companies offer a certain amount of free data for all, or using apps like Gigato which allow sponsors to top-up data, free, for prepaid users of specific apps: that recharged data can then be used for accessing any website or app.
 
Then there's Digital India, which aims to put Wi-Fi into towns and villages, letting smartphone users access the internet free or cheaply.
 
Former journalist Pierre Fitter puts it well: "Good that all Web content will be treated as equal. Now comes the important bit: making sure everyone can access the Internet."
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Men spend more than women on Valentine's Day: Survey
New Delhi : Amid the growing craze for Valentine's Day celebrations, men end up spending more to pamper their loved one than women, reveals a survey.
 
Giftease.com, an Indian gifting portal conducted the online suvey with 3000 respondents across different age groups (18 to 45 years) from metropolitan cities to decode the country's passion for Valentine's Day, which falls on February 14.
 
The survey shines the light on the ideas, behaviour and gifting patterns that are expected this Valentine's Day.
 
Almost 68 percent of respondents stated their intent to celebrate Valentine's Day in some manner, with 37 percent planning time with their Valentine alone, 22 percent with their friends, and 8 percent looking forward to their first date this Valentine's.
 
While V-Day is seemingly more popular amongst women, the survey reveals that on an average, men plan to spend over Rs.740 on gifts which is higher than women who are looking at an average gift spend of Rs.670 this Valentine's.
 
Also, there's a large variation between the preferred gifts for men and women.
 
Most men plan to play safe with flowers (42 percent) or chocolates (27 percent) but a significant number (17 percent) are getting more adventurous, and plan to gift something naughty.
 
The top three gifts in the women's list for their Valentines are gadgets (34 percent), perfumes (19 percent) or accessories (16 percent). Interestingly, naughty gifts are still fairly low in the list of gifts to give, for women.
 
As many as 41 percent of men, and 30 percent of women intend to send their V-Day gifts through online shopping sites or apps.
 
Whatever it may be, a Valentine 's Day gift is expected, with one in seven women saying they would even break their relationship if they do not receive a Valentine's gift this year, as per the survey.
 
Also, it is rather motivating for married women to note that 41 percent of married men pre-plan for Valentine's Day as compared to 31 percent unmarried men who prepare in advance for their girlfriends.
 
Ashish Chandani, chief operating officer and co-founder, Giftease.com, said Valentine's Day is among the largest peaks for the brand in terms of traffic and sales.
 
"Valentinea¿s Day celebrations are no longer just a metro phenomenon, it has taken root even in the tier-II and tier-III towns. While flowers and chocolates have been all-time favourites, the largest growth is in the customised gifts and naughty gifts categories."A
A
Some other findings from the survey: 42 percent females feel Valentine's is over-hyped, compared to 47 percent males - but many will still celebrate; 15 percent respondents feel Valentine's should be a national holiday; and 29 percent of men, and 31% of women, have changed their Valentine at least once in the last five years.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Refer to anything
Use this app to refer to anything on the Internet
 
The Internet is the world’s largest library containing millions of books, artefacts, images, documents, maps, etc. There is one small problem in this library: everything is scattered about on the floor, with growing hordes of confused and bewildered users frantically sifting through the maze, occasionally crying out, “Great Scott, look at what I just found!” Refdesk.com is a website which is a universal encyclopaedia of sorts. It has numerous sections organised by topics and can become a gateway to your search for knowledge across the world. Google, Yahoo, Bing and YouTube are all at your fingertips. So are Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. You can search from Wikipedia, encyclopaedias, dictionaries (including medical & legal), thesaurus, people, news, driving directions and a lot more.
 
Daily News, Crosswords, humour, jokes, Sudoku, and much more, can engage a variety of users with myriad interests. Updates on computer virus, health, science and technology are also refreshed each day. Since 1995, Refdesk is a free and family-friendly website that indexes and reviews quality, credible and current web-based resources. A true reference desk for all your needs! 

User

COMMENTS

Sanjeev Dhabre

10 months ago

thanks!!!

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)