Over 60 Indian startups have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to preserve the fast-growing startup ecosystem in India by protecting net neutrality.
Having a neutral internet is crucial for startups because most of them rely on the level playing field that the internet offers to compete against established services in the market.
“We dream that an Indian startup may one day become the next Google, Facebook or Amazon," the letter says. "We know that you share our dream. We share another dream with you, the dream of a Digital India. We dream of this as Indians, and also as businesses that wish to serve a fast-growing Indian internet market. These dreams cannot be achieved without the open Internet."
The letter also touches on an important point -- that bringing the 100 crore Indians who still don't use the internet online is not merely a question of affordability or infrastructure. It's a question of demand.
"No poor person will begin to use the Internet just because access is cheap or even free," it says. "She would find no use for content that is not relevant to her needs. This content will not be created by the large western companies that dominate the Internet today, but by Indian start-ups like us. We can only do this if there is a level playing field, freedom to innovate, and yes, competition to drive us."
Head to SaveTheInternet.in to read the complete letter and to sign it if you are a startup that supports net neutrality.
The net neutrality debate has been raging in India ever since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consulation paper last month inviting responses from the general public about 'over-the-top' services. In the last few weeks, users have sent over 10 lakh emails to TRAI asking the regulator to protect net neutrality in the country.