30 September, 2015

Web 1,2,3 point .. oh no.

FightTheTPP @Wikileaks on 13 Oct, 2015
TV fed us with whatever it wanted to, Shaktiman or Chitrahaar, we gulped it down with joy. Enter Internet and we liked it more, for its variety, class, and the choice to watch what we wanted to. So today, the American TV viewers have moved from 'cord-cutters' to 'cord-nevers', and broadcasters offered them this choice to sustain their own businesses.

"… arrange with telcos to give away bandwidth" "telcos may bundle internet access with voice by restricting it to a few hundred megabytes rather than to a few websites". We are not traveling on Indian Railways. As the open letter points out, 'Neutrality Violations have Started Already' - ".. all discriminatory practices by ISPs are forbidden, including zero-rating, throttling, blocking, paid prioritization, toll-gating.." I didn't know there was a term for it (throttling) as my 'Cisco & ex-Reliance' friend explained, "Haan! Danda upar-neeche karte hain (Yes! We manipulate the signal)." We laughed.

Internet equality is a myth. Google page rankings are controlled. And this is why google is not making any noise about how Free Basics sucks. It has instead collaborated with India for its own philanthropic plan. Purely philanthropic actions and Internet privacy are myths too.

Needs and Deeds

" ... there should first be need and demand for Internet access" this is where the letter loses its plot. There was never a need/demand for Internet before it came, or the TV, or phone, or radio, or the bulb. Somebody invented it, and then it was all about how to bring it to the market, and in the process create a demand. "... No poor person will begin to use the Internet just because access is cheap or even free." Yes they will, exactly because it's free. In this light, FB’s 'free app for the poor' seems one of the first steps in the way forward; just the beginning of the actual Splinternet that Internet always was.

26 years on, we have used the internet mostly for networking, besides entertainment and retail.  Knowing our usage pattern, let the poor access that which we do mostly. 15% Internet users penetration in India is meager.  Let them come on FB. Let them know there's more. And let them avail what they can afford.

Let Facebook pull its stunt. Then Google will..Twitter..eBay..each telco..each e-com”. Mr. Murthy is right. Meanwhile, what start-ups will thus have to do is build creative tie-ups with telcos, ISPs and websites, and make their own presence and need felt. Mobile Internet and Smartphones are the near future. And thus so are Apps (Kardashian app!). The dynamic Internet is up for a change. Adapt. Think apps, videos to suit a smartphone screen-size.

And of course, through all this we want to give China the elbow.

History repeats, and rips

It's like 1909, same road (common carrier), different cars - Ford Model T (FB) riders say hello to others riding a Buick (Google), Chrysler (Twitter, Instagram), or Anderson (start-ups). Model T succeeded - it was cheap, black, and generated mass employment. But today, the once thriving hub of automobile manufacturing, Detroit is bankrupt. And the face of automobile industry has changed altogether.

It's like MKG’s India v/s Bhagat's BharatSwaraj v/s Sampoorna Swaraj. People were offered a new country to go to, no one was forced. From an idealistic pov, Bhagat feels right. But reality isn’t ideal; it just is. 

Quit making kings & queens

Idiots of sorts are then the 99% (or maybe 70% - minus some smart ones who stay foolish for family/friends/bosses/society's sake). Corporates don’t become giants just like that.  Like no Maggi would kill us. Or Coca-Cola. Or Apple. Or Facebook. Or the damn Internet.

Our fears are unfounded. Staying back now is a Tesla move - ideal and suicidal.

Views expressed here reflect the author's idea that 'human wisdom' and its 'collective evolution' is as screwed as thinking that there is progress in replacing forests with smart cities. That was done, and then on a large scale. The rest is history that doesn't matter.

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