Net Neutrality and why you should fight for it

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Yesterday Nonie M Gathitu popularly known on twitter as @NonieMG asked whether a tale of two internet being discussed in US will affect us here.  It reminded me that I had tried to write something about this but got lazy along the way and the draft post has been lying on my comp for like 4 months. Back in August when the whole thing started we talked about it with some of my  friends on Facebook. As then and now the big question is, what it really means for the future of Internet. Check that towards the end of this article. Yes, this debate at the moment is in US where Google and Verizon, two leading players in Internet service and content, came out with a joint proposal that could result into two internets.  But the word is, if that is accepted then expects the replica here in no time. The local internet providers will jump into the idea faster than you can blink.  That is why we should join hands and fight for the net neutrality everywhere around the world.

Net neutrality is the reason why many developers, users and the others fall in love with internet on the first sight. It is the real beauty if any exist in the world where the order of the day is being  self centered and the priority word is “me me and me”.  We can all access any Web site on an equal basis and from anywhere in the world.  It does not matter who the owner of the site is, small or large, big corporate or mama mboga startup at the street corner, small kid blogger or Giant Google..we see them all without discrimination.

But that might not be the case in the near future should such crazy proposal be accepted.  The idea of creating two-tiered Internet with a super fast lane and a slow Chameleonish lane is not cool. It might be good for the big Telcoms and Internet companies looking for a way to make a kill. You know in reality the other companies and individuals with deep pockets will be rushing to get priority on the fast lane. While we can predict that the end is near for the small person or startups that can’t compete in the same level in financial terms.

Ok, the cable, wireless or DSL are like the pipes where the information flows. What they are suggesting is whoever pays more will be using faster lane. If you have better content which is competing with the so called Internet provider then you info might even be banned from the pipes completely. It will be messy

Death of Innovation

Some of the most innovation online ideas in the past few years came up from individuals sitting in their bed rooms. After playing around with the codes the free democratic Net allow their creation or innovation to be accessed easily all over the world. That is wonderful, through Net Neutrality people are changing the world and how things are being done.  Just imagine how it will look when  non creative companies with deep pockets or Oil rich individuals are allowed to push their half baked, crappy ideas down our throats through the fast lane internet while the super bright kid with super ideas worth of saving the world is pushed on the background through the snail paced Internet?

Even though we almost hate KPLC but the electricity is neutral and whether it is in State house, or Runda or Kawangware or  Kibera you get the same as long as you can pay for it.  Net-neutrality should be like that , else innovation and competition will be a great thing of the past .

2011 is promising to be the greatest year for internet in Kenya

The signs are out there, the year 2011 is going to be great.  I think  I am not wrong to say it is going to be the true year of internet in Kenya.  The 3G everywhere…..

Orange 3G

We have lived up with Orange 3G lies for the last few months, but now they are ready.  The Communications Commission of Kenya awarded them 3G licence  last month. Telkom Kenya will roll out high-speed internet services for its by early 2011. It is planning to invest €30 million for the launch, according to CEO Michael Ghossein.  Through their modem or orange mobile network or others  brace yourself for the good times a head..

Airtel 3G

At the same time  Bharti Airtel Ltd will begin rolling out 3G services in the first quarter of 2011. Now these guys made the year 2010, a year to remember for the mobile phone users in Kenya. I just waiting  to see what they will do next after leveling the playing ground  with their rival Safaricom in the data sector.

AccessKenya.

They  partnered with insurance provider, AON Minet Insurance Limited recently and hope to spread their wings around.  Through this  AccessKenya is hoping to meet the increasing demand for home internet with a potential of 300,000 homes, only 6% of which has been tapped.

Wanachi Group

A few weeks ago Wananchi Group under its flagship brand Zuku announced Zuku Triple Play strategy and new price structure for the East African. This business strategy will see the enhancement of existing Wananchi services and products which include its Cable TV operation (ex-Mitsuminet Cablevision) in Nairobi and Mombasa, providing up to 100 TV channels to about 12,000 customers. Wimax broadband Internet operation, providing 3 packages (256 KBps, 512 KBps and 1 MBps) to about 9,000 customers in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri and Eldoret and all existing and new operations under the commercial brand name ‘Zuku’

The following is my discussion on Facebook back in August about Net neutrality:

Kachwanya:   Net neutrality…the Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering  Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content. Now Google want to change that..fat cats, big fish will get priority ahead of omena… not cool at all

Andy Kamau i feel you. Nw we have to improve our SOE skills just get noticed.

Kachwanya It is no longer going to be about SEO..it is all going to be about how much a company or individual can pay ..the highest bidder

Andy Kamau then we move to others like ask, baidu or even yahoo search.such a monopoly wil nt go down wel with most people. A related scenario is how craigslist out did ebay.

Andy Kamau i get ur point and on googles side its a wise business move. Bt to the little fish they wil stand to lose.time to seek other channels. PPC is an avenue that is under utilized

Andy Kamau www.businessinsider.com/facebook-or-google-2010-4

Kachwanya : It might reach a point whereby if you don’t pay, your contents wouldn’t be accessed anywhere..or if they don’t like your content, you are doomed.. complete censorship

Andy Kamau : totaly nt fair

Siasabora Kathuli:  people will be free to choose between Verizon,AT&T,Sprint and all the others,as they will choose between Microsoft,Amazon,Google or Apple.I see no problem with these proposals.Just look at their corporate blogs,follow the right people on twitter and give the opportunity to divergent views on the same issue! Dont be fooled by NYT.

Kachwanya:  I am not being fooled by anyone. Leave the likes of FB, NYT alone for a moment and Look at it critically for a minute, if you are in a startup business you will not be able to compete with established players. Their contents will reach the customers faster than yours coz they are able to pay more. As we know it people will go with faster content rather than snail pace content.. Believe me this is a bad idea..

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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