Soon after the public started received the text messages of COAI demanding to make call to a toll free number in support of net neutrality. The campaign projects itself as an initiative to connect one billion unconnected citizens of India and reports that the internet should not be a privileged information service, reaching only a few in the country.
The association calls all stakeholders to have an open informed debate on the subject of net neutrality. It says that through the debate, stakeholders along with the association can reach an amicable framework that caters to the infrastructure and diverse socio-economic needs of the country.
Behind the campaign are the leaders of COAI, comprising of Mr. Ashok Sharma of Aircel, Mr. Gopal Vittal of Airtel, Mr. Himanshu Kapania of Idea Cellular, Mr. Shanker Adawal of Reliance Jio, Mr. Rajiv Bawa of Telenor, Mr. Arvind Bali of Videocon, and Mr. Sunil Sood of Vodafone India.
As a brilliant move, the COAI has elaborated two aspects to counter the blame on them, stating:
- We support an open Internet and believe that consumers should decide what to do online. Our job is to enable consumers to benefit from that freedom.
- We offer choice and do not block or provide any preferential access to any web site or app.
The association has further elaborated its approach to net neutrality in terms of infrastructure, technological innovation, regulations and freedom of choice.
To elucidate, COAI connects their move to net neutrality as a way to fulfil Modi’s Digital India campaign. According to the association, the industry will need an additional capital of over INR 500,000 crores over the next 10 years in spectrum, new technology, equipment, towers, optical fibre backbone, etc. to meet the Digital India dream. Hence, COAI thinks that the present need of the hour is to have a sustainable industry that has ability to invest in growth of data services and connectivity to all.
COAI further compares the mobile subscription scenario to internet penetration in the country. COAI says that the mobile subscribers reached over 950 million subscriptions, the second largest in the world only because of innovative pricing strategy implemented. The pricing flexibility should be provided to the billion Indians to get them connected to internet. This claims indirectly calls for zero-rating platforms.
Same Rules apply to same services is the next call. In order to enable all services to reach the customers across the country, COAI says that same rules must apply to same types of services, including Mobile and IP Voice services.
The last call of COAI is to make internet access Pro-Consumer, Pro-Choice, which says customers have the freedom to choose how they want to access the Internet. This freedom is offered in non-discriminatory manner, either paid or subsidized. This again hints their move to implement zero-rated platform.
COAI also summarizing the internet stats of India. India’s current internet penetration ranking is 142nd, which is far behind other developing countries such as Bhutan and Sri Lanka, says COAI. To improve the scenario, COAI calls for innovation across ecosystems in terms of affordability in devices, networks, OTT ecosystem, and applications.
This is the second move from COAI to convince their zero-rated platform to public. The website sabkainternet.in points three different views indirectly trying to convince people by confusing them. The new press release too tries a similar move.