what TRAI and government missed in internet governance

First, While the document talks about OTTs and TSP, the document is not clear if TSP includes all wired broadband service providers. In the chapter 2 it does introduces wired connection as way of connecting to the internet but subsequent reference to TSP points toward the wireless and call providing telecoms. If those references of TSP included the wired broadband service providers then the limitation of bandwidth doesn’t make sense. Also, language of the article appears to be slightly in favor of TSPs rather than the public, which is not desirable.

Second, The document also tries to fix this with a simple solution with imposing limitations instead of digging the root of this issue of bandwidth use. Why user hogs the bandwidth, download copyright content? Do they have other cost effective option? The answer is no. the softwares are too expensive for general user and not easily accessible. The Indian universities don’t have ties with software firms so as to provide the essential softwares to students at lower costs. There is no gateway for students to purchase these software since many Indian lacks access to credit cards. As a result they resort to pirated content which then threaten their security. But government is silent about that serious breach of security.

The end users download movies and songs because they are available on demand. The DVDs are like junk, why would a user carry such bulk with him all the times when memory media are available at such cheap costs? The industry needs to innovate for this and come up with better ways in reaching the end users. Netflix was such innovation, which enabled user to see movies on demand.

Apart from this, there is again issue of accessibility. Many towns and even district places still lack multiplex and good cinema halls to enjoy the movies. The movie industry is no at all concern in broadening its reach in that sense and is more interested in metros. If a user don’t have access to these movies offline, then he chooses it online. India don’t have any Netflix like facility, so download it a cheap and easy way out. The same goes for songs, but only with recent OTT apps people are choosing their ways of listening the songs. Isn’t that good for copyright material?

Third, as India is a soft country, the laws are never strictly or not at all implemented. There is no deterrence for it. Neither any attempts are made to make the illegal copyright material legal. (Microsoft is going to offer upgrade to windows 10 legally even if underlying os is illegal, ofcouse the user will be asked to pay for windows 10 but that will be at lower cost. They did same with windows 8 at launch; an Applaudable move.) With no incentive to use copyright material, the user chose easy way out – pirated contents.

Fourth, The OTTs are also causing innovation of loneliness, distance from real people and pushing the youth into virtual identities. There are no measures from govt. to sensitize the youth on this issue. India faces serious shortage of psychiatrists to help the students. Nor govt have chain of volunteers who have access into collages to communicate with students.

This issue of OTT was raised when the big money making TSP saw a huge market in the form of users. And it’s understandable that TRAI picked this issues in that context but government has bigger roles to play towards citizen. Sadly it is not doing enough on the tough fronts of ethics integrity and morality.

Fifth, and government cannot miss out the imbalances that will set as domino effect as the corner stone of Internet i.e. net neutrality is removed.

Eg. if it charges skype like ARCEP of france, and asks that the operator must meet certain obligations as they are in the business of providing electronic communications. Which will lead to charging the skype. Skype will charge the users, users will ask for QoS since they are paying for the service, the TSP on other hand won’t be able to maintain the QoS (as they are failing to do even today due to infrastructure constrains) this will lead to even more clashes. Also, if skype or hangouts like apps are charged, they are sponsored by internet giants like google and Microsoft, which can afford to subsidies their apps. Thus new entry into the internet telephony will be challenging. It will create imbalance on the web for innovations.

Inshort, this way is going to open more conflicts leading to disturbance in internet ecosystem. It is responsibility of the government to ensure certain standards of life. The UN has already accepted internet as fundamental right for general public. Thus, its necessary for the government to secure this right in greater public interest.

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