February 10, 2016
The Hindu"I am convinced that Facebook and their ad agencies completely underestimated the Indian public." Picture shows protests in Hyderabad against Facebook’s campaign.
TRAI’s vigorous endorsement of net neutrality safeguards the Internet against platform monopolies, retaining the ability for users not only to be consumers but also creators of content
The regulations issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)barring differential pricing of data based on content have created a global impact. A friend, who runs a major international software company, called it the most important victory for the people in the tech space in the last 20 years. India has joined a select few countries that have protected net neutrality and barred zero-rating services.
What makes this “victory” even more surprising was the complete asymmetry of the two sides involved. On one side was Facebook, a company whose market cap is greater than the GDPs of 144 countries, allied with a bunch of big telecom companies (telcos). They had already “won” easy victories for their platform in a number of countries, and felt India would be no exception. They had an ad campaign that estimates put at Rs.400 crore. On the other side was a motley group of free software and Internet activists, with unlikely allies such as comedy group AIB, a bunch of start-ups, and some political figures and formations.