By Prajakt Raut
Sure, we are all in favor of Net Neutrality and agree that it needs to be maintained. However, like all big issues, this debate also has many aspects that need to be examined. Net Neutrality will help startups and entrepreneurs who want to get their software products out to consumers. However, much like DTH operators can charge a premium for some channels and keep some free, perhaps telcos too have a point when they argue that the way they monetize their packages is their right.
Preferential access will certainly be a challenge for startups. But it is like saying, ‘If newspaper ads were free, it will benefit startups as they would be able to market their products to consumers’. On the other hand, telcos complain of losing money. However, one wonders what stops them from raising prices of bandwidth.
So far, they have entered into a price war as an industry, something no one has forced them to. As a private operator, they have every right to increase the price of bandwith and no one should have any argument against that. The market forces will then determine what price who wants to operate at. There could be premium service providers, and there could be service providers who offer cheaper bandwidth. Let the consumer decide.
Overall, in the interest of fostering entrepreneurship, keeping the net neutral should be supported by telcos too. Given the backlash, it will be prudent if they accept this argument. The concept needs to be addressed at a policy level by taking all sides into consideration.
Prajakt is co-founder of The Hub for Startups and Applyifi