Jun 26 2015
WHAT started out as a telecom company's mistimed introduction of a new Internet package is now a full-fledged war over the way we access the Internet. Trouble in the net-sphere began when Airtel offered subscribers free Internet access to a chosen group of websites. Nothing wrong with that per se because companies do offer different types of Internet packages to keep subscribers hooked. But the noisy public relations campaign that signalled the start of the “Airtel Zero” internet plan alerted netizens to the possibility of telecom companies hatching some kind of an insidious game plan.
Within a day of the announcement, 140-character angry bytes on Twitter and slightly longer ones on other mobile applications such as Facebook and Whatsapp soon gave way to a torrent of heated articles in print and on the net. All of them criticised Airtel’s move as restrictive and potentially monopolistic. This meant net access to companies that don't pay the telecom operator will be blocked out on the subscriber's phone. In telecom terms, this was seen as violative of the idea of net neutrality.