Why telecommunication companies are against Net Neutrality – Open Internet in spite of the tremendous business opportunities born out of the application of Internet in all walks of our life? ISPs – Internet Service Providers account books are proving the huge earnings of these giant telecoms based on their broadband and Internet services. India is going through a struggle to support their right to Open Internet – Net Neutrality these days. Recently, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed and adopted USA Open Internet guidelines on February 26, 2015 to protect the free expression and innovation of the Internet in the USA.
Question still remains the same as to why these giant telecoms appear as the biggest enemies to the Net Neutrality concept or Open Internet. Answer to this complex question might not be as simple as it might appear at the first instance. No doubt, Internet has made our lives easier than ever before in the last couple of years. Internet has fueled the free knowledge economy of modern times, not only by offering data services, but also by offering an unbiased platform for creating and disseminating huge knowledge banks all over the globe.
Global boundaries are eliminating with the evolution of Internet as many new innovative business models are embarking their evolution journey. ISPs started enjoying a highly profitable business model by offering Internet service connectivity to mass consumers against a monthly subscription charges (tariff). As more and more people are subscribing to the Internet services, these telecoms’ earning graph is shooting up; ISPs are growing as giant telecommunication operators and are trying their best to dominate the entire industry.
Most of these telecoms forgot to innovate by focusing only on increasing their earnings. When some great minds developed and launched their innovative services layered over the Internet, these telecom operators felt the fear of losing their market share. Today, ISPs are presenting themselves as the owners of the Internet; rather than acknowledging themselves merely as operators. The thought motivated them to start lobbying with the government regulatory bodies to claim their ownership over the Internet operating in their territory.
By gaining full control on world wide web, ISPs want to divide Internet into two different parts – Slow Internet and Fast Internet. Fast Internet would be a privilege offered to only big businesses, who have big budget to pay ISPs supporting their existence in fast Internet lane. Small businesses, small startups and most specifically, the budding SMEs to be thrown back on the slow Internet lane to die slow painful death, even during their infant stage. ISPs may block, throttle or implement paid prioritization routing algorithms to effect the Internet traffic.
Action taken by countries and/or telecoms would result in killing the rapidly growing free global economy powered by Internet. It would also be a killer to the entire idea of entrepreneurship growing rapidly cross the globe in various forms. The world has already witnessed innumerable small online startups coming up and becoming big because of their freedom to access Open Internet.
Killing Net Neutrality holds the power to offer many undue advantages to existing big brands, to eliminate peer competition and to establish their monopoly in the market. It will also put an end to innovative ideas factory due to the scarcity of promotional funds. Net Neutrality is also an emblem to our democratic rights for accessing Internet as a basic service, without passing through any kind of discrimination, imposed in any form.
On one hand, innumerable entrepreneurs across the globe are launching innovative business models, while ISPs are trying to pump more money into their traditional business models. Efforts to improve our business is a good idea, but not on account of illogically charging some premium from consumers merely because of their failure to innovate their conventional business models. It is because of this logical reason mass Internet consumers across the globe are supporting the idea of Net Neutrality or Open Internet. Huge social movements in support of Net Neutrality have been witnessed in many countries trying to kill the idea of Net Neutrality.
Skype is seen as a big threat to voice calling services offered directly by the telecoms. Skype to Skype calls are free, so the consumers only pay for the data charges, which are much lower than the direct voice calling services. Consumers are right while demanding their freedom to access Internet in whatever ways they want against the payment of data charges only. Consumers are also right because ISPs are not the owners/creators of the Internet, they have not contributed to the development of Internet in any way. In fact, ISPs were born as Internet Service Providers to offer Internet connectivity services to world wide web against the data tariffs.
Let us share a small story about the invention of automatic telephone exchange. Almon Brown Strowger , an undertaker in Kansas City, Missouri invented automatic telephone exchange. He conceived the basic idea in 1888 and finally got a working prototype patented on March 10, 1891 as Automatic Telephone Exchange .
Strowger motivation behind this innovation came out of his necessity to save his undertaking business against some favored practices. Suddenly, he noticed loss of business because of the reduced number of clients’ calls coming his way. After investigation, he came to know about a local telephone operator (manual telephone exchange operator), who was the wife of a competitor undertaker in the area.
The female operator used to manually connect incoming calls from subscribers asking “to the undertaker” to her husband’s phone line, which resulted in Strowger’s business loss. Strowger started working on a solution to automate the manual exchange system to cut the human intervention out of this prejudiced system. Later, this small innovation changed the entire telecommunication industry forever.
The invention aimed at empowering the subscribers, rather than the operators. Going against Net Neutrality (Open Internet) is like traveling back into the pages of history. ISPs are trying to gain certain rights to control the Internet traffic, as per their choice.
Most of the telecoms going against the idea of Net Neutrality (Open Internet) talk about their high IT infrastructure cost eating up their profits. Simply said, profit is the difference between revenue earned and costs incurred. In order to increase profits, you can either increase the revenue earned or decrease the costs incurred.
IT infrastructure costs are reducing considerably with the advancement of technology. Unfortunately, most of the telecoms are still working with the traditional expensive technologies and traditional expensive business processes. They are either afraid of the change, or they are completely ignorant about the huge savings which can result with the optimized allocation of optimized resources with the right strategy.