Indian startups write open letter to Modi, urging him to protect net neutrality

The fight for net neutrality is a subject that needs no introduction. Over the past couple of months, we have seen people and organizations from all quarters of the country fight for the freedom of the internet. When TRAI released a consultation paper where it made a series of recommendations to be adopted by online services and applications, the death of freedom of internet or net neutrality was part of it.

From media groups and comedy troupes to netizens, the campaign to protect net neutrality gained an unprecedented momentum. Internet for Indians is a world where equality still remains. It serves as a platform where innovation, freedom of speech can be expressed without any censorship. This is also the reason why the startups of India have joined the fight for net neutrality.

In their bid to keep the internet neutral, they wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to protect Net Neutrality and in an essence the future of startup community in India which is growing at a tremendous pace.

It talks about what the internet means to Indians. For millions of Indians, internet is not a luxury but a necessity. And there are still 100 crore millions who do not access the internet. The letter stresses that it is not infrastructure or affordability that should be addressed first. For them to use the internet, it is not just enough for internet to be free or cheap. The letter says what is important is for the content available on the internet to be relevant and in demand. Moreover, the content should be created not by western players but by Indian entrepreneurs. This can only be done when there is equal opportunity for everyone to compete and innovate or in other words, when there is net neutrality.

The letter emphasises that a dream of digital India can become a reality only if the startups are allowed to experiment and develop services for all Indians. The dream of creating the next Google, Facebook or Amazon by the entrepreneurs of India is only be feasible with open internet. The letter says “We know that you share our dream; you put it into words: Make in India. The Internet gives us all the potential to do that. “

The letter talks about the destructive impact of zero rating on net neutrality. It also talks about how private investors will move into investing in telecom infrastructure (which the telecom industries claim is not profitably possible) once the demand for internet rises.

The letter concludes with all startups urging the government to protect open internet for all. The startups think that the future of digital India and the the ecosystem of startups is only possible with Net Neutrality. Click on this link to read the complete letter where over 450 and still counting startup companies have signed their support.