The ongoing net neutrality debate has seen participation from several startup founders and influencer voices, but Indian startup ecosystem’s biggest irony lies in the fact that most of the Unicorn startup founders have decided to remain silent about the net neutrality debate.

Don't Hide, Dear Unicorn Founders!
Don’t Hide, Dear Unicorn Founders!

Except for VSS (of Paytm) who has been extremely vocal about his support for net neutrality, none of the founders have come out in the open and said anything about it.

Case in point : Did you see the founders of InMobi, Olacabs, Quikr and others even talking about it (in public forum)?

That’s really sad. Extremely sad.

It’s the neutral web that got these founders to where they are and their silence is definitely not appreciated.

Imagine people in a certain state not able to use the Ola app? Or unable to use Quikr service? It didn’t happen because…well the Internet was available to all and the services were competing on its merit and not on access points.

To add to that, Nasscom too makes a politically correct statement. While the organization believes that net neutrality is important, but is now proposing formation of a non-profit org that will *DECIDE* the differential pricing program.

From their official statement (emphasis is ours):

Accordingly, any differential pricing programs including proposals by TSPs and their partners should have explicit directives / approval of the regulator and deemed to be in public interest. The onus of proving the larger public good arising out of such proposals should be on the TSP and its partners. Such proposals should be subject to a wider public consultation by the regulator before arriving at a final decision. With lack of stringent privacy laws in India and the high commercial value attached to user information, it is important that differential pricing plans are vetted carefully by the regulator.

NASSCOM further proposes that even after requisite approval, a suitable oversight mechanism should be put in place to check that the TSPs continue to abide by the principles of net neutrality. For this, NASSCOM recommends establishment of an independent not-for-profit entity with an independent board, who would own and manage proposed differential pricing programs that are deemed to be in the public interest and are philanthropic in nature.

How can Nasscom talk about differential pricing and net neutrality in one sentence? Why can’t they take a *FOR-INNOVATION* side, and not try to please the Facebooks of the world?

Who are they representing?

Why are some Unicorn founders and organizations so spineless?

These founders and organizations represent India in the global diaspora and it’s time they show some spine and take a stand.

Sadly, this is what probably happened when East India company entered and hired Indian generals and soldiers to control India.

Welcome to 2016 version of the same.

If you still want to save the Internet (and NOT rely on spineless founders and organizations), go to SaveTheInternet.in and tell TRAI that you need a democratic web and NOT an internet access whose keys are with somebody else.

                         Stand-up Unicorn Founders. Stand-up Nasscom. [tweet this]

Image credit: shutterstock

2 Comments

  1. Don’t concur with the common wave of criticism of FreeBasics. FreeBasics can be very powerful if used with caution.

  2. Nextbigwhat seems to be the only one tech blog asking the real questions. And yes, surprisingly, all founders and VCs (except Mahesh Murthy) are quite on Free Basics and Net Neutrality.

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