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The Internet Government

India's Net Neutrality Campaign Picks Up Steam, Sites Withdraw From Internet.org 75

First time accepted submitter arvin (916235) writes The Huffington Post reports on prominent Indian websites withdrawing from Facebook's internet.org initiative. The net neutrality debate in the country has focused on zero-rating, where ISPs offer a free data plan which provides access to a set of websites that pay to be included. Internet.org provides free access to Facebook, Bing, Wikipedia and a few other websites. Another similar service, Airtel Zero, lost its flagship partner as e-commerce company Flipkart withdrew following a social media backlash.

Net neutrality activists believe that as these plans proliferate, access to the open internet will become extremely expensive or unavailable, innovation will slow as for startups are prevented from reaching the market, and the competitive consumer ISP market will be replaced with a cartel negotiating against internet companies. In a campaign similar to that in the US, over 630,000 Indians sent responses to their regulator through the website savetheinternet.in.
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India's Net Neutrality Campaign Picks Up Steam, Sites Withdraw From Internet.org

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  • can't be the problem.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If my memory still serves me correctly, the domain 'internet.org' used to belong to an independent organization which had nothing to do with fb

      Take a look at archive.org copy of internet.org - https://web.archive.org/web/19... [archive.org]

      The fact that the domain has been taken over by fb and is being used by fb to co-op (and con) people whom still without stable connection to the Net is that fb has proven itself to be a not-so-nice entity

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I really like their mention of /.
        You want the latest news that matters go to Slashdot. Good marketers can only hope for a favorable mention. Unfavorable may literally put you out

  • by Anonymous Coward

    a free room in a spacious jail with lots of useful amenities.

    On the plus side, I can see how it would be appealing to people without a lot of money who only care about the services offered.

    On the minus side, it's still a jail.

    • by nomel ( 244635 )

      > On the plus side, I can see how it would be appealing to people without a lot of money who can't afford internet any other way.

      There, fixed that for you.

      I get the problem, but I'm sure the people who can't afford any sort of connection are a bit disappointed right now.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Don't gimme that liberal political crap. They can always sell a kidney or their liver.

    • by slew ( 2918 )

      Apple seems to offer quite a spacious jail with lots of useful apps/amenities.
      They also seem to charge more for the experience.

      If you can offer an attractive cage at a discount, maybe no one will care they are in a white-washed cage instead of a gilded cage...

      • Apple seems to offer quite a spacious jail with lots of useful apps/amenities.

        No Apple device restricts which websites a user can visit.

        • No Apple device restricts which websites a user can visit.

          Perhaps that depends on what you mean by "visit". Even if you exclude sites that rely on SWF or JAR components, it took until iOS 6 for Safari to support <input type="file">, and it took until iOS 8 for Safari to support WebGL outside vetted iAd modules. Until then, Apple was restricting users from visiting web sites that rely on those web platform features by restricting browsers on iOS from implementing them. And I'm under the impression that support for <input type="file"> is still woefully i

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            Not supporting something is very different from intentionally blocking something. The former is a matter of time, money and/or simple ignorance of the requirements. The latter is intentionally malicious.

            The difference really should be pretty obvious.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Not supporting something is very different from intentionally blocking something.

              Apple intentionally blocks third-party web browsers that are not just thin wrappers around Safari. Therefore, features that Safari doesn't support and which third parties could have implemented but for this blocking are features that Apple intentionally blocks.

              • by Altrag ( 195300 )

                Which is among the many reasons I refuse to use Apple products, but there's still a distinction between the levels of "Safari doesn't support it" vs "You must use Safari in some manner."

                Of course if its "Safari doesn't support it specifically because we want to block sites that use it" then you're getting into the territory of mixing the two issues. But as long as Safari's lack of support is simply due to lack of time/money/motivation, you can't really associate maliciousness with that particular aspect of

  • There are lots of people in India too poor to pay for internet, that this system could link them in.

    Is it really worse for them to have a gated internet than no internet at all?

    So what if "normal" internet becomes a little more expensive, that's fine when anyone can get limited access to the internet for free.

    • The problem with the "paid-by-advertising" model is the advertisers only want people with money. People who can't pay for internet access are "not in their demographic".

      Anyone who prefers to view the internet as a wealth-enabling resource rather than a wealth-draining private hunting ground can see through this facade in an instant.

      • Advertisers value people, period. Even those with very little money... it's a different demographic, is all. The thing is people using free internet connections are not going to have that much money period so it simply does not match with your thought the advertisers on such a service will be expecting rich people on a limited free service.

        Anyone who prefers to view the internet as a wealth-enabling resource

        I do, which is why I'd prefer as many people to have internet access as possible - not hold it back

        • I think we both want the same thing but are making different presumptions. Here are mine:
          The internet is a (social) failure unless everyone can use it.
          Corporations only care about targeting high-value customers.
          If the only form of $free internet access is corporate-advertising-backed, low-$ people will be left out.

          In other words, we need a form of internet access that does not depend on corporations. Sounds rather like a utility. Not completely $free but with mandatory free outlets.

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            If the only form of $free internet access is corporate-advertising-backed, low-$ people will be left out.

            This conclusion is wrong. Poorer people tend to be far more likely to be suckered into scams, whether its due to general wealth mismanagement, poor education or what have you.

            Its true that they won't likely be seeing ads for BMWs and Rolexes, but there will be no end of mortgage scams, pyramid schemes and similar cons that tend to preferentially target people who don't really understand how horribly low "get rich quick" (or even "get out of debt quick") scores on the probability meter.

    • Not just that, but there's little evidence to suggest proper Internet access would even get more expensive. (At least for me, access to just one website is not "Internet access")

      In fact, since this is a change in demand (not a change in quantity demanded), economics suggests the price should go down.

      The only way it would go up is if it lures more people into buying Internet data plans... wouldn't that also be good?

      • That's exactly what I've been arguing. I don't know in what kind of economy having a free option-- even a limited one-- could cause prices to go UP. At worst, they would stay the same, if the only people to use the free service were people who could honestly afford to pay nothing and therefore had no internet at all.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Yes because it would be a return to the old corrupt propaganda main stream media model. Pricing would not be what they claim but selective pricing would be the model. The insiders would get one price and the outsiders would get a price that they purposefully could not afford. Basically they want to keep the main stream media propaganda lies going and to do that, they need to silence the truth.

      Basically the psychopaths are trying one bullshit propaganda method after another to get the lock in on pay to sp

    • by knwny ( 2940129 )
      When there are only a handful of websites(with deep pockets) which can be accessed by "lots of people in India too poor to pay for internet", what is the guarantee that their offerings are unbiased and comparable to those offered though the open internet? What is the guarantee that this wouldn't lead to cartelization? Here are a couple of hypothetical scenarios:
      • I create a website which propagates falsehoods about Pastafarians. I tie up with the ISPs to allow free access to my website. Lots of people start
  • ... where this question will be decided. If the f***books of the world succeed there they will know they can get away with it, and will double down their efforts.

  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Wednesday April 15, 2015 @07:23PM (#49482085)

    TMobile provides free streaming to websites such as Pandora without counting that data as part of your data plan (see [t-mobile.com]. This is being done for almost a year and no one is protesting.

    • You pay for the data plan I assume in a T-mobile plan.
      All they are doing is allowing more data for streaming for a website like pandora which might soak up a lot of peoples bandwidth.
      They are not gatekeeping the rest of the internet and extorting money from web businesses.
      T-mobile is simply offering more service in the form of an extension of bandwidth.

    • I have 1GB of 4G-speed data with T-Mobile. I'm also a prolific streamer of Internet radio. For some parts of my work, it's required.

      Now I get to run however much I like, wherever I am, and T-Mobile eats the costs, leaving bandwidth available for other, more important things.

      What's there to protest?

      • Disclaimer: I have T-Mobile service, and I'll tell anyone I meet that I'm happy with the service. I don't work for them.

        The problem with T-Mobile's policy is that it creates a barrier to market entry. If a new streaming service starts they have to come to T-Mo, hat in hand and ask for zero rating. If T-Mo says no, well, would you use a streaming service that eats your data allotment if you have other choices?

        I use Spotify, but when looking at other services I specifically check if they're in T-Mobile's list
        • You're talking to someone who runs a 24/7 Internet radio stream. Network, routing, copyright, artists, library, website, the whole shebang. It's really not that hard to sign on with their program. But even if it was...

          The thing about their plan is it's a voluntary part of their billing. They're not throttling anyone, they're not prioritizing traffic or dropping packets based on the source or destination.

          The only thing they're doing is footing the bill for shuttling data. Paying for someone else's bills is a

          • Paying for someone else's bills is always welcome in my book

            In antitrust circles, this is called 'dumping' and can have very bad effects on the health of the market.

            • Charge too high and that's "gouging"
              Charge too low and that's "dumping"
              Charge the same as everyone else and that's "collusion"

              Is there anything that's not antitrust?

              Charging per GB is OK.
              Charging per month, unlimited is OK.
              Charging per GB except certain kinds of services... not OK?

              Antitrust is completely irrelevant here.

        • I run an Internet radio stream myself. I'm fully aware of T-Mobile's terms of the service, and they're not bad. But even if it was...

          The thing about their plan is it's a voluntary part of their billing. They're not throttling anyone, they're not prioritizing traffic or dropping packets based on the source or destination.

          There's no barrier to entry, it doesn't make it harder to get an Internet connection or start a new service.
          (Centralized distributers like YouTube, Google Play, Twitch.tv -- they do. They co

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Some guy got his home streaming accepted as a "Service" by T-Mobile despite being the only user by filling out all their reams of paperwork. They don't discriminate against any music provider to my knowledge.
    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Bell up here in Canada just got slapped by the government for doing something similar.

      Its definitely hard to toe the "stop giving things away for free" line, but business models like that are absolutely horrible for any vague semblance of a free market. If Pandora is effectively subsidized and thus essentially free to the end user, while Spotify is going to cost $20/gb or whatever the stupidly high rate is these days, guess which company isn't going to be able to compete for long?

      Any government in the worl

      • by Straif ( 172656 )

        I'm failing to see how jumping immediately to having the government shut down a business deal between two companies is an aid to "free market" while allowing said companies from joining in a voluntary partnership is a violation of the same.

        If you can show Verizon or Pandora lose money because of their partnership (effectively dumping their product to hurt competitors), or are blocking Spotify from forming a similar partnership with other companies then sure you have a case for government intervention. Othe

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          or are blocking Spotify from forming a similar partnership

          That's pretty much the catch right there. Spotify in particular is probably big enough to perhaps do something, but what about TinyIndieSite.com? On top of not being well known in the first place, they're also competing against a subsidized service.

          And given how tied these services are to the phones they run on, not to mention the contracts that you usually have to enter in order to obtain the phone in the first place, means that you can't easily just "go to another company."

          The only reason this isn't imm

          • by Straif ( 172656 )

            And why is it suddenly T-Mobile or Panora's job to help TinyIndieSite.com? Neither are doing anything to prevent the service from running they just aren't giving it any of the special benefits that these two companies negotiated between them. You can still order TinyIndieSite.com's service, you just have to use your data cap to use it on their network like every other service on the internet and if it's such a great service then either T-Mobile will make a deal with them or one of their competitors will.

            C

            • by Altrag ( 195300 )

              And why is it suddenly T-Mobile or Panora's job to help TinyIndieSite.com?

              When did I say it was? I said the government should be preventing them from harming TinyIndieSite.com, with the additional (ok somewhat implied) restriction of unfairly.

              Just because this is 'on the internet' doesn't make it anything special.

              When did I say it did? I was talking about cell phones (or cable packages or other mono/duo/small ogliopolies.) T-Mobile takes Pandora. Verizon takes Spotify. Make your other matchups as you will. Where does TinyIndieSite.com fit in now? They don't have the clout to take on Pandora or Spotify..

              If they were able to charge $1/mo for the

              • by Straif ( 172656 )

                By this logic no two companies can ever join in a beneficial partnership because every other company in a similar field isn't involved. Unless you're definition of 'harming' a competitor is doing a better job of marketing yourself to customers, I still can't really see the harm being done to tinyindiesite?

                You still pay for your music service, you just don't get it applied to your data cap at a particular phone company. Yes, that allows Pandora users on T-Mobile to get more use of their phones/music but it

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm obviously a grouchy old man, but if all these damn companies want to recreate the days of CompuServe and AOL, that's fine by me. At least back then the cost to access acted like an idiot filter -- not a perfect one, but better than nothing. In these days of September never ending, the idiots rule the roost, and the net is only good for confirming that humanity deserves to be exterminated.

  • Net Neutrality may have a very different effect on the consumer in a country that charges consumers for bandwidth used rather than bandwidth available. In the US consumers pay once for internet and then have access to all non-private services with no added cost. If you are charging consumers based on bandwidth actually used, there is probably a better argument for some variation in costs based on how much each slice of bandwidth costs.

    • In the US consumers pay once for internet and then have access to all non-private services with no added cost.

      Comcast (cable) caps at 300 GB per month. Exede (satellite) caps at 10 GB per month. Cellular Internet caps even lower. If you read the article, you'll discover that it is about cellular Internet.

  • The suggestion that it takes anyone but the WMF to provide free access is a fallacy. Wikipedia Zero is free for any ISP who cares to provide it.

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