The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) came out with its recommendations on Net Neutrality on Tuesday. It is pretty clear in its views. No telecom service provider (TSP) or Internet Service Provider (ISP) will be allowed to discriminate against access to any website. They can neither slow down access to a site, nor can they work out any arrangement by which some websites get favourable treatment. The TRAI also suggests that traffic management practices of ISPs and TSPs should be reported transparently so that it is clear that there is no bias.
That comes as a huge relief to new websites and digital entrepreneurs who now have as much chance of getting noticed as a well established website. The Net Neutrality recommendations would ensure that no service provider can give preferential access to say, a Facebook, compared to a new social media site started by an entrepreneur. The Net Neutrality recommendations have thus leveled the playing field to a large extent.
Having said that, it would be naive for any new website to think that they will reach customers and grab eyeballs as easily as their better established rivals. Have you ever wondered why Google or Youtube load instantly to your computer even on a slow connection, while other sites take ages to do so.
Access to a website is more than just having equal rights on the ISP or TSP. A whole lot of technology and resources go into making sure that some websites are more accessible than others. Faster servers, better optimized code in web pages, better technology - they all play a role in access to a website.
Consider servers for example. The more powerful the server, the faster it can serve up the web pages. Equally, if you expect a big load from across the world, having your website in servers across geographies gives you an edge. That is why Google, Facebook, Amazon and the others load so much faster than others. They spend billions in having the most efficient servers, the most fine tuned technology, the best optimized pages and they are constantly working to make their services even more efficient. The kind of databases that put the page together also help. Pages optimized for mobile devices load instantly on your phones compared to websites that are optimized only for desktop viewing.
The more resources one can throw behind a website and the more money one can spend in having fast servers across geographies ensures that some websites are more equal than others. And that is why, despite the Net Neutrality suggestions, you will always be able to access some websites more easily than others.