During his town hall address at IIT Delhi, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “Those who don’t have access to the internet cannot sign online petitions.” But how can he decide what is best for them? Recent research by Amba Kak at the Oxford Internet Institute found that financially constrained users prefer buying shorter duration Internet plans (e.g. three days) with all access, as opposed to WhatsApp-only plans that are valid for one month. “All-access is the priority,” according to the research.
Many of us have benefited from the openness, plurality and diversity that the internet has to offer. We want more people to get access to the entire internet, and not private bubbles created by an Airtel, Facebook or possibly a Reliance Jio. Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Trai: “If you dictate what the poor should get, you take away their right to choose what they think is best for them.”