Earlier in the day, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ruled that no company can enter into any arrangement based on discriminatory pricing. This essentially means that the TRAI ruling effectively bans all zero-rated programmes including Facebook’s Free Basics programme.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the ruling:
Far away in Menlo Park, a Mark Zuckerberg is throwing things in his office and screaming about $40 million down the drain
— Prasanto K Roy (@prasanto) February 8, 2016
— Tushar (@tusharrawat85) February 8, 2016
This was Facebooks Waterloo in India. It lost respect in tech community, showed its ignorance and arrogance https://t.co/JFGOr2WblS
— Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) February 8, 2016
— Anja Kovacs (@anjakovacs) February 8, 2016
— Mishi Choudhary (@MishiChoudhary) February 8, 2016
Though some users did point out that Internet companies needed to show more support for net neutrality (fair point)
i still wonder why some of India’s biggest internet companies and their founders didn’t take public stands on this https://t.co/DOYQRrOyip
— pankaj mishra (@pankajontech) February 8, 2016
And there were people who were disappointed that Facebook’s initiative would not pan out in India.
Several lakh people with Internet access have successfully managed to make it harder for crores of others to get online. #NetNeutrality
— Dhruva Jaishankar (@d_jaishankar) February 8, 2016 Good reasons to cheer TRAI’s stand on Net Neutrality, but it’s morally indefensible to celebrate a ban on free internet for the poor.
— Manu Joseph (@manujosephsan) February 8, 2016
— Rachna Burman (@rachnaburman) February 9, 2016
Savetheinternet.in, in their statement, also mentions some of the larger issues on Net Neutrality that needs to be addressed.
Two key aspects of the Net Neutrality consultation that remain: firstly, the proposed requirement for providers of VoIP services like Whatsapp, Viber and Skype to obtain a government licence, which would mean that telecom operators could be required to treat traffic from unlicensed VoIP providers differently from the rest, and secondly, allowing telecom operators the ability to slow down and speed up websites, giving them the ability to play king-makers and gate-keepers. Citizens should be vigilant, as always, and should consider participating in this process in the future. SaveTheInternet opposes any form of licensing of Internet Services. This includes VoIP.
But we’d like to sign off with this tweet :)
Disclosures: MediaNama has taken a strong position in favor of Net Neutrality and against price discrimination; Founder and editor of Medianama Nikhil Pahwa is a volunteer with the SaveTheInternet coalition.
Update: The post was updated to bring in more view points on Twitter