COAI recently launched a new initiative ‘Sabka Interet Sabka Vikas’ that aimed to help connect unconnected citizens. However, the main purpose of the platform was to help everyone, with a special emphasis on voice customers, extend support on the issue of Net Neutrality. According to COAI, the platform has received support from over 40 lakh users in less than a week of its launch.
The operators body said over 40 lakh people showed their support for the cause while about 10% chose to opt out. SMSes and voice calls were leveraged to promote campaign and to garner the support on Net Neutrality. To ensure ease of understanding, the messages were conveyed in 12 local languages across India. COAI reveals this medium was intentionally selected so as to be able to reach out to and include the views of the millions of mobile customers who are yet to be connected to the internet.
COAI further claims entire mobile number database of supporters is auditable on request by the appropriate agency. COAI members had reaffirmed their commitment to the government’s Digital India programme and to promote Net Equality, so as to facilitate an open, inclusive and affordable access to the Internet for every Indian.
Rajan S. Mathews, DirectorGeneral, COAI, said, “The campaign championed the cause of customers choosing what they would like to access in the web space, benefitting from affordable internet packages and with the same rules being applicable to services as well. COAI started the outreach effort to ensure mobile customers have the freedom to benefit from the power of the internet in the way they would wish to. This includes the choice of platform, device and technology.”
“We respect the choice of our customers and support the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India. #SabkaInternet has always been the essence of our philosophy and the billions of dollars investments made by all the telecom operators in the space,” added Mr. Mathews.
The latest development comes shortly after the TRAI received millions of e-mails in support for Net Neutrality. Telecom operators, however, extended support to the Net Neutrality but also coined the term Net Equality wherein voice customers (especially in smaller cities) should be given equal priority and that their point of view should also be heard and understood. For more on Net Equality read – Why Net Equality is more important than Net Neutrality