Is anything neutral?

free-basicsThe ongoing debate on net-neutrality seems to evoke very strong sentiments from the segment of people for it rather than the people against it. Most searches on this subject returned links that pointed to articles telling me why FreeBasics would be bad for the economy and how it was tantamount to the British East India Company’s takeover of the Indian economy. For some reason I was unable to buy into the argument. None of the arguments against FreeBasics seemed to hold too much water.

From where I stand, I fail to see why such a hullabaloo is being generated over a concept that exists with us in a myriad of ways. For instance, all the DTH operators have a basic package which is available at very cheap prices to all its subscribers. People who want more content can then purchase such content. When this model was rolled out, there was hardly any noise. Everybody accepted it and life went on.

My understanding is that FreeBasics is very much a similar concept on the Internet. The service provider gives all its users a basic package. Users who require services over and above this basic package can then purchase these services by paying more money. Where is the problem?

Yes, this could make access to Internet services more expensive as paying users will find that they need to pay for a range of useless services in order to gain access to services they want. But that is hardly new news. For instance, I get a bunch of channels I don’t want just so I can watch Liverpool play all their games, such as channels dedicated to cricket and golf. But that is the price I pay to be able to watch what I want to watch.

Until I find a reasonably good argument against FreeBasics, I am all for it. If any one does have this argument, feel free to reach out to me. I am eager to listen to it.


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