Petition for Affordable Internet Access
Amit Bhawani, the popular blogger of phoneradar.com has raised a Petition for Affordable Internet Access. His initiative is hard hitting and against the malpractices followed by few telecom companies by selling internet plans at much higher cost. The grudge point is the denial by TRAI (Telecom regulatory authority of India) of Summer surprise offer by Reliance Jio to its Prime customers which would have benefited the customers.
TRAI’s standpoint then and now
Earlier, TRAI stood with the customers of internet against the Net Neutrality. However, this time, TRAI has deterred the Jio’s flow by disallowing it of selling through its Sumer surprise offer which gives its Prime users free service for next 3 months upon recharging for Rs. 303 and above.
The petition rightly questions the telecom companies providing internet access at high price thus making it still unattainable for large market segment. The question is about how can the telecom companies which were once offering data at Rs. 250/GB are now offering it at much lower prices. For example, Airtel is offering 3 GB under its Infinity plan for Rs 499/month.
You can find the petition here. The petition text goes as below
Today is a black day for Digital India. The Indian consumers who with your support, once fought and won the battle for Net Neutrality; Today are on the verge of losing out on affordable access to the Internet.
Sir, I am a Techie, who has stood for the dream of Digital India throughout my career. In the last year, we have experienced a sea of change in the number of Indians logging on and using the Internet actively. There is a huge change in the data consumption patterns, from 1GB/month to an astonishing 30GB/month. World’s biggest companies like Facebook and YouTube have acknowledged this exponential rise of Indian data usage on their platforms. The fact is, Today, INDIA HAS BECOME THE LARGEST MOBILE DATA CONSUMER IN THE WORLD.
The biggest contributor for this phenomenon to occur was the availability of stable and affordable data across India, for the very first time. Statistics have revealed that the appetite for Internet was there but the supply was strategically controlled and artificially priced high. The rate from Rs 250/GB has dropped drastically from last year to less than Rs 10/GB. The less rate has resulted in a whole new segment of Indian consumers connecting online. The Indians for whom data used to be a luxury.
I ask, what led to this change? Were the companies working as a cartel and fooling the Indian consumer?
Sir, TRAI, which is supposed to be a pro-consumer body disappointed me today; Instead of protecting the scheme that gave a chance to a common man to access Internet at a cost of less than Rs 5/GB, decided to shut the Jio Summer Surprise Offer and has set a precedence that will prevent the consumer from getting affordable data forever.
PS: This petition is in favor of any Telecom Operator that is offering affordable internet to the consumers. Ignoring the legal side I wish that TRAI & DOT would work in favor of the consumers and help in supporting any initiatives that help them access the internet at affordable pricing.
Sir, My humble request to you is that, Please side with the Indian consumers and reinforce to the Indian public that your actions will always protect the interest of the common man and also ensure that your policies are in sync with the Digital India vision to give The Indian Youth affordable access to Internet and Information.
While writing this blog, total number of users who signed this petition were 96,793 and growing. If you support this argument and want to see the data prices being slashed, i would recommend you definitely sign this petition. Let your voice be heard.