MICA CONDUCTS SCHOLARLY DISCUSSION ON NET NEUTRALITY | Press Release

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Way after class hours on Friday, students and faculty of MICA streamed into the Mani Iyer auditorium on campus, murmuring excitedly among themselves. They settled down to watch a showdown between their beloved MICA faculties that they had been awaiting all day. Organized by MiCompass, the student-run Marketing Club At MICA, ‘The Mobius Strip’ brought together two eminent scholars of great repute in their respective fields, Dr. Rasananda Panda and Dr.Santhosh K. Patra to discuss the highly controversial issue of net-neutrality. The discussion was moderated by Dr. T.T.Sreekumar, who ensured that it stayed on course while he also provided valuable inputs and viewpoints to keep the discussion going.The event was attended by several students from Ahmedabad Institute who had come all the way to be a part of the discussion.

“The idea behind the discussion originated during a class interaction when we accidentally hit upon the question of net-neutrality. The excitement it generated among the students was palpable. Kudos to the effort of MiCompass for organizing this event to help further the understanding of the issue,” Dr.Patra said. The event began at 19:00, with a packed auditorium. The students cheered excitedly as the three speakers mounted the stage. The event, aptly named ‘The Mobius Strip’, was about challenging the idea of singularity and viewing pertinent topics related to business and marketing from exciting, new perspectives. Dr.Panda started the discussion by referring to the world wide web as ‘the internet mall.’ To the surprise of the crowd gathered, Dr.Panda took a strong stance against net-neutrality.

His 10 minute address presented a purely economic perspective of the issue. He argued that differential pricing of internet services would increase the revenues of service providers, which in turn would help build infrastructure, increasing producer surplus and benefitting the economy. “Why should we have a problem with capitalists making money? We should give them the benefit of the doubt. You can’t expect the world to be democratic when you yourself aren’t,” Dr.Panda said.

Presenting his side, Dr. Patra viewed the debate as one between two groups of capitalists, the Internet Content Providers and the Internet Service Providers. “The internet was never neutral. Using the word ‘neutrality’ for the internet is hypocrisy, driven by specific beneficiaries. Of late, consumers enjoyed the benefits of certain telecom operators offering free access to certain websites, which in itself was a violation of net neutrality. Where were the voices of dissent then?” he questioned.

After two rounds of the speakers presenting their viewpoints, the floor was thrown open for questions from the students. Enthusiastic students fired questions ranging from freedom of expression to the economics of the internet and the character of internet as a communication medium. Responding to one of the questions posted live on Twitter if new start-ups would suffer if the internet adopts a differential pricing strategy, Dr.Patra said, “Start-ups will not struggle. They will only benefit by competing among themselves rather than being pitted against existing giants.”

The event was followed by several people through constant Twitter updates and a live coverage through Periscope. The buzz did not die down even after the event ended, as students took the discussion to the canteen and the hostels, excitedly drawing inferences and debating their perspectives among friends. With the success of ‘The Mobius Strip’, Team MiCompass has planned to extend it to cover more exciting domains and issues in the near future.

About MICA

Established in 1991, MICA is the first residential institute in the country and perhaps in the Asia-Pacific region, dedicated to creating Leadership in Strategic Marketing and Communication. Its spirit lies in its grasping of contemporariness, addressing the needs of an ever-changing environment. The MICA brand assures effective delivery of Strategic Marketing and Communicationsolutions to the industry, government and community. Today, it is the alma mater of professionals serving in leadership positions in some of the best known companies in India and the world, in marketing, brand management, research & analytics, advertising, media, digital and other strategic marketing and communication-driven businesses.

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