Friday, September 18, 2015

The coming Indian net.neutrality debacle?

So, this is what happens when the apparatchiks write about policy:

Noam Chomsky, a famous leftist American philosopher

See, MSM? Not too difficult, even for foreigners.

town square for the global village

Every village needs an idiot.

The telecom operators claim that these applications impact their revenues

Protect their revenues at all costs!!

The debate on Net neutrality, as it is called, has developed into a duel for the ownership cake. Why do we need owners for this wonderful realm? The question in itself is baffling.

So, so baffling. We are so baffled. The question is not over ownership, everyone owns their cables, their fiber, their web servers. The issue is control other other people's stuff and how to use you two to get it, you tools.

The Net neutrality principle simply states that there should be no blocking, no throttling and no paid prioritisation of any lawful content on the Internet.

None of these three things are the same. Within the three are divisions. Why not allow prioritized traffic? Why not let the telecoms figure out how much to charge?

Though the recommendation of this committee pitches for a neutral Internet, it has proposed regulations on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) OTTs

“Quick, more boiling oil!”

It suggests that arbitrages on regulations and pricing exist between operators and substitute service providing OTTs, which needs to be removed to provide a level-playing field for both.

Do not be fooled by the word “arbitrage,” which is an import from high finance. What the author just said here is that Indian telecoms are saddled with regulatory burdens and taxes, which create a tax burden-gap benefiting the independent app providers.

This outrage must be ended!

It’s worth mentioning that operators are regulated on call tariff through interconnect charges, tariff ceiling for roaming calls, etc. Such regulations won’t ever allow genuine competition between conventional calling and VoIP calling. This calls for further deliberation on the “solution”.
And will be! This is called “failing upward.”

GOVERNMENT: our regulations and taxes created the problem, now we need more to “fix” it.

While only domestic VoIP services are recommended for regulations, other services are not. It would be interesting to see how a line would be drawn among OTTs, since many offer multiple services packed in one.

More room for more regulations! You need to stop bundling awesome things so we can break them properly.

The DoT committee has failed to address other issues such as data privacy. With OTTs holding huge consumer data, the issue of protecting consumers’ sensitive data is worth a mention. However, the regulator reviewing tariff plans on zero-rating before being launched in public is an optimistic step for consumer protection.

Yes, we saw government consumer protection. It was called the June 2015 Office of Personnel Management data breach.

OTTs play a part in promoting Internet adoption and regulating OTTs on tariff may make the free services a paid service. This might impact the pace of OTT-driven Internet adoption. With the Internet penetration standing below 20 per cent, regulations might land a knockout punch on India’s digital inclusion mission.

A price we must pay!

A hurdle to Net neutrality also comes from the existing revenue models of Internet-based services. From Internet search to prioritising data packets on quality of service, the entire network is governed by payments made by companies to avail preferential treatment.

Un scandale! Remember: the first outrage of “preferential treatment” is when you pay a telco to come plug a wire into your house or business. Will this blasphemous perfidy never cease?!

The power of choice should, in any case, rest with consumers and not the operators. Consumer demands vary according to individual preferences. For example, some consumers might settle for an average Internet speed, while others might not. Thus, differential services/paid prioritisation may be provided only on “consumer demand”, but it should be ensured that other services are not negatively impacted.

Note the constant format: start with a sane proposition, then slide in the crazy. Note the complete lack of documentation showing that “vital services” have ever been blocked.

The operators highlight the need of capital expenditure for infrastructure and argue that OTTs, that impact their revenues, hinder their ability to invest on infrastructure. It is undeniable fact that OTTs rely on Internet service, and it’s equally their responsibility to let Internet breath for long. OTTs should lend a hand on building the foundation, for which the question that needs answer is “how”.

Normally, OTTs pay their ISPs for their connection, and their consumers pay yet more to be connected. But not in new, glorious theme park's Statismland!

Thus, the Internet we use is nowhere close to being perfectly neutral.

Note the complete lack of any data to shore up the Big Lie. Note how their “thus” attempts to conceal this total lack of any case by simply presuming it into existence. The Internet is not neutral. It is so completely Balkanized that no one can control the whole thing. Which is the real problem.

We still have to safeguard it from the probable clutches of the prospective owners.

In case you were wondering, the “prospective owners” are in fact all the little players who do in fact own bits and pieces of “the Internet”: ISPs, consumers, businesses, the soi-disant OTTs. The future owner is your happy local community kommissar and apparatchik.

OTTs help getting new consumers on-board and also propel data revenues.

Translation: our regulations turn ISPs into crappy phone providers. Instead of letting telecoms lapse into mere ISPs who compete on price, and letting independents offer new, cheaper and usually better telephony services, and letting the real and natural dual-tension between ISPs and OTTs play out (how they both need and burden each other), we offer more regulations.

So operators should work out on economies of scale strategies rather than cribbing over the competition brought in by innovation.

Sounds pretty.

If regulations seem the only solution, they shouldn’t be based on tagging prices on these apps. The idea is to promote the Internet, not to break it. The need is to make it robust, seamless and for everyone.

Still pretty, but problems persist. First, “seamless?” Nothing a tech sees is seamless, this is a political hack's word. “Robust” would be good enough. Second, the pricing of the apps is the least of the problems. The big part here is the “revenue sharing.” Oh, didn't you read that? That is what the authors meant by sharing the regulatory and tax burden, you know, instead of, oh, I dunno, relieving the suffering telecoms from their obsolete and current burdens!

Because, you know, libertarians are crazy.


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