Friday, June 30, 2006

Good-Bye to INTERNET we know

Its time to say Good Bye to the free INTERNET we know, where your packet is never discriminated based on what it contains, where it is coming from and where it is going. Senate Commerce Committee, rejected the compromise language on Net Neutrality by splitting11-11, which would  mean a defeat for Net Neutrality.



The Senate Commerce Committee, splitting 11 to 11 and therefore rejecting compromise language, set the stage for a carrier-controlled Internet. If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the President, you can kiss the Net you know "goodbye." Farewell, open networks and open standards. Soon every packet will be subject to inspection and surcharges based on what it carries and who sent it or where it is going. [ZDNet: Saying "goodbye" to the Net  ]



So very soon carriers will be empowered to inspect the packet and charge a premium not only based on the content, but possibly where it is coming from and where it is going. or a Tiered internet based purely on content type, means carriers will now offer a package Internet connection deal which literally says basic internet connection is $14.99 with which you can access emails and visit a few allowed websites, with optional adds ons : music internet $4.99 (you can listen and download MP3s), Video internet $4.99 (you can watch and download videos) and the list goes on. Having a package like cable television will not be a big surprise even.  America Top 60 for $15.99, which allows you to access top 60 websites mostly news and general. America Video Classics, $11.99 which allows you to watch and download videos from any video website. America top 100 Music, that allows to listen and download music from 100 listed websites. In a variation, carriers may set Band Width limitations where if you visit carrier owned music site, you will have unlimited Bandwidth while if you visit a site like Youtube or Flickr, every byte is counted towards the bandwidth limit and the consumer will have to pay premium charge for the additional bandwidth if he chooses to use.  Or something very creative and unbelievable package deal, but you have pay like $140 to goto any website you like.


We just have to watch and see how creative these Telcos can go. This is particularly interesting keeping in view the fact that most Telcos have been threatened by internet innovation and have been lossing business starting from IM to Skype phones. Recent hurried consolidiations is nothing but an indication that they can not compete for the same already cutdown pie and possibly survive longer. So, now its time for them to take a revenge and show internet companies what it feels like to be threatened. Time again to put some bucks on these telcos, after a long long time.


During the christmas, be ready to hear the analysts, confirming "Christmas sales revenue is down 5% from last year owing to increase in internet access fees".


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Snapfish lets you create your own US Postal stamps, with your own photos

Another cool feature from snapfish. Now you can turn your photos to US Postal stamps.










































Turn your photos into real U.S. Postage
Turn your photos into real U.S. Postage








Use PhotoStamps for: baby announcements, thank you notes, birthday and anniversary parties, your favorite pets, vacation photos, scrapbooking, and gifts for any occasion.


















Use PhotoStamps for:



  • Baby announcements

  • Thank you notes

  • Birthday and anniversary parties

  • Your favorite pets

  • Vacation photos

  • Scrapbooking

  • Gifts for any occasion


Get started now!






Turn your photos into real U.S. Postage




Snapfish and the Snapfish logo are trademarks of the Hewlett-Packard Company. All rights reserved. Snapfish, 303 Second St, South Tower, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94107


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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Software can impact and make India key innovation hubs of the new world

C.K. Prahalad, Professor from Ross School of Business, Univ. of Michigan reiterates that Software is chaging and can change a lot more sectors for India, if the vibrant energy is properly tapped . In his keynote speach at Software2006, Prahalad explains how the High Technology echo system like Software can combine with other sectors like Automobiles, Pharma to create a whole new platform of advantage for India to grow. Key excerpts from his key note address:




  • One key excerpt from his presentation is how Indian IT industry transformed over the last decade to differentiate with Innovation rather than pure cost advantage.

    • Cost ( 1980 - 1990)

    • Cost + Quality (1990 - 1995)

    • Cost + Quality + Technology (1995 -2000)

    • Cost + Quality + Technology + Innovation ( > 2000)




  • The world is recognising India as its key INNOVATION center with a wealth of skilled and knowledge professionals rather than just a low cost IT production center or outsourcing partners. This is very important differentiator for India, particularly interesting in the wake of the new low-cost-IT facilities being opened in the rest of the world. If you see the number of employees in India-owned IT Companies and other multinationals like IBM, INTEL, MICROSOFT, the difference is quite striking and convincing the argument. As per estimates in year 2005, MNCs employ more Indian professionals than Indian companies.


    • Indian Companies - 295,000

      • Indian IT Companies - 190,000

      • Indian BPO - 105,000




    • MNCs - 350,000

      • Tech Companies - 60,000

      • MNC IT Companies - 80,000

      • MNC BPO - 210,000





  • Indian IT is no longer confined to just the top 5-10 companies which are known more for evangelising the outsourcing, professionals-on-hire, labs-on-hire concepts. As per NASSCOM estimates, there are about 3000 Indian companies/startups who are differentiating India as a key Innovation hub, have revenues less than $25Million, hinting the surge of Entrepreneurial ventures by ambitious Indian professionals and business people alike.


The presentation also highlights a few interesting facts about Indian Auto industry and how software/IT advantage can bring innovation and capture one of the largest markets. Very interesting and striking features of Indian Auto industry have been presented; the gap between a motor cycle that costs around $1000 and a car that costs about $6000. A $3000 car is going to be a killer for India. And the same or similar car that costs $6000 in India  costs around $20000 in US. Can this huge cost barrier turn American Auto to look for innovation and electronic and embedded component manufacturing in India? Big question but a definite opportunity.


It is pretty clear that Software or IT industry not only brought so much vibrancy in the Indian markets and fuelling aspirations of Indian middle class, it has also changed and can impact literally every aspect of common Indian life.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Women love and dominate Mobile Games

The Telephia Mobile Game Report for Q1 2006 has some startling figures about mobile gaming.  As per  news report at Yahoo, which  is a  Press Release by Telephia, Women dominate the mobile gaming arena accounting for 65% of the revenues while Tetris and Tetris Deluxe combined accounts for around 8.8% of the revenues. Read the press release here.


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Monday, June 26, 2006

India's Bharti Airtel in World's Top Ten Infotech/Telecom Companies

India's Bharti Airtel figures at number 10 in the Business Week's world top Infotech/Telecom comapanies list, ahead of international power houses Motorola (11th), Google (13th), Microsoft (37th) and Hewlett-Packard (44th).



Excerpts from the News URL


Bharti Airtel, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys, Satyam, and Wipro figure in the annual BusinessWeek list of top 100 infotech/telecom companies.


India ties Hong Kong in fourth spot with five companies in the top 100, after the US with 45, Taiwan (13), and Japan (9). As against this, there’s no company from mainland China.


Bharti Airtel is the only Indian company in the top 10, ahead of international biggies such as Motorola (11th), Google (13th), Microsoft (37th) and Hewlett-Packard (44th).


The factors that BusinessWeek focused on to rate the companies included return on equity, revenue growth, shareholder return, and total revenues.


The Top Ten




  1. America Movil (Mexico)



    1. Hon Hai Precision (Taiwan)

    2. High Tech Computer (Taiwan)

    3. Apple Computer (the US)

    4. Softbank (Japan)

    5. Telefonica Moviles (Spain)

    6. Telefonica (Spain)

    7. China Mobile (Hong Kong)

    8. Nokia (Finland)

    9. Bharti Airtel (India)





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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Standing on the shoulders of Giants, to start and grow a business

"If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants" - Sir Issac Newton We learn lots of things from our own mistakes. But a few of us also learn from others' mistakes. Some times, we can succeed just by following in the footsteps of successful and ambitious entrepreneurs. So, then a much better path to succeed is studying about successful people and their ventures. On this note,  I found a few blogs this morning that I would like to share.


Talking about failures at Feld Thoughts, urging Entrepreneurs to share their failures. So keep watching this blog for more posts on this subjects and its readers' responses..



"While it’s often difficult to talk about failure, there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from it.  The cliche “I learn more from my failures than my successes” applies directly to entrepreneurship and creating companies.  It can be difficult to be self-reflective, but I’ve personally found it very cathartic to study my failures, understand what I did wrong, learn as much as I can from them, and move on.  Occasionally I’ll have a similar failure a second time or a third time – hopefully I learn eventually."



While reading Feld Thoughts blogs, I found a comment by Mark Crowne pointing to a paper he wrote on "Why software product startups fail and what to do about it -  Evolution of software product development in startup companies", discusses specifically about Software Startup failures and what to learn from them.


Also, there are two posts by Pamela Slim from Escape From Cubicle Nation that summarizes her decade long experience in starting and growing her business, offers what a budding entrepreneur is looking for. What she did right and what she could have done better. Here are links to those two posts; Thanks a ton, Pamela Slim.



  1. Writing a Dr. Seuss business plan and other questionable things I did when I started my business - She discussed 10 things she could have done better and

  2. Dr. Seuss aside, what I did RIGHT when starting my business - in which she discussed 10 things that she did right from the beginning.


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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Software 2006 Conference : Videos

Videos from Software 2006: Unifying the Ecosystem held on 4th and 5th of April 2006 at Santa Clara Convention Center Santa Clara, CA. Most of the speakers from big enterprises or from top 10 consulting firms. Different voice, slightly from the big vendors, compared to what I hear from the new age web2.0 entrepreneurs. But great insights for Software startups, as these are the guys who were in the business for more than a decade building and selling software.






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Web2.0 Products Catalogue

Here is a loooong list of Web 2.0 companies. Who says every product will and must try to solve a unique problem in the market?  Most of these are plain vanilla duplicates of others or something popular. But some of them are wonderful like Thumbstack which allows to create and share presentations right from your browser.



Web 2.0 Companies at http://baris.typepad.com/venture_capitalist/


Here is a list I recently got of all the web 2.0 companies out there.  Multiply the total by 10 to consider all the ones not included in the list.  Who says there is no hype?  There are some Web 2.0 Venture Funds in there at the end :-)




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Sony follows Online Video buzz

Sony follows the online video buzz, offering its online Video service "MusicBox". Offers original video streams of artists by its own companies and affiliates like Shakira, Beyonce, Alicia Keys and likes. Pretty soon, the service allows you to embed those original video streams on your webpages. At this point, you can watch the videos and can send an email with the link to the video to share with your friends.



Sony Music Box Video



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How to kill time when you spouse is shopping

When your spouse decides to go on shopping, I bet you don't have a choice but accompany. At times, it is so much fun shopping and rolling around the malls. I enjoy shopping but I hate to go to the same stereotype mall every weekend. And some times, particularly if you are not interested, it can be so painful you swear to god that you will never go shopping. But you never know how that 'never ever' can turn out to be. In my case, it is quite often the next weekend. There is some thing new around the corner or some discount sale at a mall. 


Unlike some of my friends, I don't have a choice  of not going. Ruled out. So here I am, trying to equip myself with some things I can do when shopping turns painful and boring.



  • I love reading books. So I pickup the Mall directory and find a bookshop and in a flash I will be sitting in aisles reading like a kid. I tried skimming through magazines  even in Walmarts these days. If I get hold of an interesting book or a magazine, I never have to worry about for the entire day.

  • I look for variety outlets in the malls and go and explore. Even in the most stereo type malls there will be some thing novel. I found that exploring some crazy shops is so much refreshing.

  • I like watching how people sell things in the small outlets. Last time I watched almost for an hour how a Verizon sales rep was selling mobile phones. He was very good. He sold 3 mobile phones and medium rate plans but with all expensive accessories that I can think of. I found out that they earn more commission on accessories than mobile phones.

  • I some times just watch how people are making buying decisions. I read so much about impulses. But watching those impulses in action is a wonderful experience.

  • When I don't feel like doing any of them, I pick out my iPod and then just relax listening to music.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Immigration Reform Bill not likely this year

Immigration Reform bill will most unlikely becomes a law, if at all, this year. Not a welcome news.



House Stalls Immigration Reform; Compromise Bill Not Likely Before November Elections
06.21.2006 2:12 PM EDT
Surprise move brings debate to U.S. voters, derails Bush plan.


".. On Tuesday, Republicans announced a proposal to take the issue directly to voters by hosting a series of hearings across the U.S. this summer, a ploy that will likely delay any action on immigration reform until after the upcoming mid-term elections in November, and perhaps until next year.

Last December, the House passed an immigration reform bill that was more law-and-order focused than the competing Senate one, which was passed in May — including the aforementioned felony provision and a call for hundreds more miles of border fencing than the Senate plan (see "Senate Passes Sweeping Immigration-Reform Package").

The details of the July/August immigration road show are still being worked out, but New York Representative Peter King said leaders plan to take them to "the places where we can get the best input," according to a Reuters report.

The hearings are expected to look at the Senate bill and gauge public opinion on the issue of immigration. But it was also clear that House Republicans hope to use the meetings to try to expose what they see as the weak points of the Senate bill and stoke public opposition to that approach — which would implement a guest-worker program that could lead to legal residency — according to The New York Times.

Democrats in the Senate said the unusual call for hearings on already-passed legislation is a blatant delay tactic meant to push compromise negotiations back until after the November congressional elections. "It is now becoming clear congressional Republicans are doing their best to make this a major issue in the campaign," said Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. ..."



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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How to start a Business in India - Links

As promised in my previous post How to start a Business in India, I would like to share the links to websites and resources that would not only help to understand the attractive Indian Business Environment, opportunities and resources but also would help you start a business in India.

This list is no way exhaustive and definitve, but would definitely serve as a starting point in making a decision. Professional help is always makes sense in making the final decision and proceedings. I will be updating this list as and when I find a link or a resource that adds values, so keep watching this posting. 


Know about India :



  1. Know India at National Portal of India : "The ancient land of India portrays a landscape of vibrant cultural heritage and spiritual mysticism. This particular section invites you to lose yourself in a journey through the fascinating lanes of the country, which reflect its numerous national traits, such as art, national identity elements, cultural extravaganza, and so on. Living up to its name, this section houses information on all the elements that go on to shape this splendid nation called India, and is an enlightenment zone for anyone who wants to know all about this spiritual country". Also read about key sectors of Indian Economy.

  2. Doing Business in India, an Ernst & Young publication presents an overview of the country’s investment climate, taxation, business and accounting practices, as well as Indian society and culture. - A must read to have a big picture of Indian business environment. This publication has also contact information about major bodies/committees/associations related commerce in India.


  3. National Portal of India, one of the best Governemnt of India's portals that showcases India and its rich diversity. It provides easy and comprehensive navigation to  various ministries, industry bodies and departments. This website also hosts a brief but very comprehensive tutorials on various aspects of starting and growing business in India. 

    Start and Grow Business in India




Business Entities in India :


There are so many web pages that lists out various business entities possible in India. The resources mentioned above in the first section also have list of entities available in India. Here are some of the links that have better clarity. Some of these links have mostly similar information, but on reading them I found each link covers slightly different area or little additional information that is not available on other websites, so try to have a look at all of them.



  1. Business In India (NASSCOM) : NASSCOM ( National Association of Software and Service Companies) discusses about various aspects of doing business in India, particularly IT business. It has a seperate section devoted to "Setting Up An IT Company". By far, this page is the most detailed for setting up an IT business in India. This web page also discusses about various India Government incentives for IT businesses, IT parks, special economic zones etc.

  2. Doing Business in India, a web page compiled by Indian Embassy and has important links included along with description about various business entities in India.


How to register a business in India :


Not all Business entities need formal registartion in India like Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership and Cooperatives. Again, multiple websites list a similar procedures, but I have included only those web pages that have some useful information.



  1. National Portal of India - Registering a company

  2. Various Steps in registering a company and duration each step might take and cost involved in each step by www.Doingbusiness.org

  3. Guidelines for applying for a company at Ministry of Companies Affairs This link has clear guidelines about various forms that need to be filled in and various fees invovled.

  4. Steps with links to various forms involved at different stages

  5. Check if a company name already exists at Ministry of Companies Affairs

  6. Details of various fees and Forms at Ministry of Companies Affairs

  7. List and links of Electronic filing forms with instruction packets at Ministry of Companies affairs

  8. Interesting questions about registering a company


Why India?


The following websites explains why India is such a wonderful market to start your business in. They also connect you to day-to-day financial news about India and the emerging market.



  1. Portal of India and the best and most comprehensive website with lots of information and almost exhaustive links about India, its people, its economy and business.

  2. NASSCOM

  3. Indian Brand Equity Foundation

  4. India Every Where


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SkypeJournal: eBay, PayPal, Skype by the Numbers

Some interesting numbers from Jim Courtney's notes at Skype Journal : eBay, PayPal, Skype by the Numbers


Important (relevant to me) excerpts:



  1. Calls made on Skype in Q1 of 2006 account for around 7% (6.9 Billion minutes) of all long distance call minutes world wide.

  2. eBay accounts for 14% of all e-commerce on the net with a gross merchandise value of $44 Billion in the last year.

  3. eBay passed 200 million mark in its registered members

  4. Skype supports around 6.5 Million concurrent users.

  5. PayPal services 105 million accounts in 50 countries; PayPal provides the payment mechanism for 67% of eBay transactions. (PayPal has more accounts that Amex and Discover combined.)

  6. Number of Developers:





  • eBay - 30,000 whose work contributes to 25% of all eBay transactions



  • PayPal - 2,500 supporting 350,000 web integrators

  • Skype - 3,500 delivering 350 applications and over 400 hardware devices



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Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.

As a followup on my previous post "Passionate vs Professional Programmer", here is an Excerpt from How To Be CREATIVE by Hugh MacLeod ( http://www.gapingvoid.com) that put the discussion in context. I totally agree that Merit can be bought but not passion.



The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.


Human beings have this thing I call the “Pissed Off Gene.” Itʼs that bit of our psyche that makes us utterly dissatisfied with our lot, no matter how kindly fortune smiles upon us.


Itʼs there for a reason. Back in our early caveman days being pissed off made us more likely to get off our butt, get out of the cave and into the tundra hunting woolly mammoth, so weʼd have something to eat for supper. Itʼs a survival mechanism. Damn useful then, damn useful


Itʼs this same Pissed Off Gene that makes us want to create anything in the first place—drawings, violin sonatas, meat packing companies, websites. This same gene drove us to discover how to make a fire, the wheel, the bow and arrow, indoor plumbing, the personal computer, the list is endless.


Part of understanding the creative urge is understanding that itʼs primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling; itʼs a primal calling.


We think weʼre “providing a superior integrated logistic system” or “helping America to really taste freshness.” In fact weʼre just pissed off and want to get the hell out of the cave and kill the woolly mammoth.


Your business either lets you go hunt the woolly mammoth or it doesnʼt. Of course, like so many white-collar jobs these days, you might very well be offered a ton of money to sit in the corner-office cave and pretend that youʼre hunting. That is sad. Whatʼs even sadder is if you agree to take the money.



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Passionate vs. Professional Programmer

I have been in the software development for almost 7 years now. It has been a wonderful journey throughout in various roles, titles, responsibilities, applications, frameworks, domains, operating systems and hanging around different types of people. So far, I had the opportunity to hangaround and work with people from US, China, Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Russia, France, Thailand, Vietnam and ofcourse from India.

Some of these people across the world have one thing in common; their passion for software development. That is taken for granted irrespective of thier domain, platform or programming language(:-)) they like. I also had the company of a lot more people who just consider their job nothing but just as a means to lead a better life. They are also experts in their own fields, but they don't like a lot what they are doing. If there is another profession that has better prospects, they will definitely choose to move on unlike a few of them who love so much about software development and dream nothing but a world of software development.

I call the first set of people Passionate programmers and call the later as Professional programmers.There is nothing wrong with any of them. I am just attempting to illustrate the differences and how they impact the organization. When some of the characteristics resonate with your traits and how you do your job, you know who you are.

I found that Passionate people dig really deep to understand the real problem and come up with solutions. They create solutions that are simple and clean. They like what they are doing and they typically spend more time than any body can think of or a typical managers budget for. They speak with enthusiam about their work. Their solutions mostly will be very few and specific in nature. Their ideas are often resisted by people around. But they will have a major impact. They also identify current problems and solve them, even before they are posed as problems, proactively act on things. They often  hate to spend time in non-tirivial things and make life simpler by creating lots of utilities. Many tools and enterprise software is often result of these small toolset.

But typical Professionals understand the issue on the face value and give generic solutions that look so good on the paper(but most often they don't work in real life scenarios). They use lots of and all kinds of fancy tools. They use a lot of jargon. They often quote nice-looking-ideas from text books/websites and they also lead by quantity rather than quality. Their solutions are generic in nature so also get greater acceptance from others(who are also typical professionals).But most of them have very low or no impact.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to seperate permanently, passionate from professional programmers. Partly due to, people some times become passionate about a project and some times act professional as they don't like what they are doing.
"You are not paid to do your best. You are paid to win the case." - The Verdict (movie).


To say the key difference in few words, keeping all things equal like expertise, Passionate put thier heart in while professionals don't. That makes a huge difference in what they can do.

Its not confined to software development. It is true in any walk of life. I read so many blogs recently, and found out the same. There are passionate bloggers. And there are fancy, professional and paid bloggers. Some of them have deeper understanding about what they are writing. Some just write because it is just the most talked about thing and would bring in more page hits. Most of the blogs provide 'advise', on things that they never experienced, leave alone mastered. Very few talk about their real world experiences with enthusiasm and notion of sharing with others, instead of 'advising' others to follow a nice looking path that they never knew existed. Well that is all part of the blogosphere.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nokia to shift Global NMS to India from home Finland

Nokia has announced that it will shift its global telecom network management services hub from its home-base in Finland, to India.



http://www.bloglines.com/blog/SanjayGarg?id=3791


Speaking at the occasion, Rajeev Suri, senior vice president, Nokia Asia Pacific (Networks), said that the managed services will be led globally out of India from July this year, and that Ashish Chowdhary, presently Head of Networks in India, will escalate to Global Head of Managed Services from India by the end of 2006. Suri said a central role was envisaged for India, wherein the country will not only function as a large target market but also as a hub for delivery and direction.


It is Nokia's Managed Services Division that runs telecom networks of service providers as part of the outsourcing agreement, and the current Vice President of Managed Services, Henrik Sund, is reportedly quitting the company. Suri added that Nokia's first Global Network Solutions Centre situated in Chennai had begun operations in May, and that it would serve as a hub for Nokia Operations Centers across-the-globe. In a separate announcement, Nokia and Siemens declared their intention to merge Nokia's Networks Business Group with Siemens' carrier-related operations to form a new company, named Nokia Siemens Networks. The resultant company will be a 50-50 joint venture, and will hold the promise to become a global leader in terms of growth segments in fixed and mobile network infrastructure and services.


URL: Nokia to shift network services to India - Business


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India Inc. - Time's cover story

The upcoming edition (June 26th 2006) of Time magazine focusses on "India Inc" with interesting and revealing stories on ambitious and enterprising India.  
India Inc. - Why the world's biggest democracy is the next great economic super power - and what it means for America http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601060626,00.html

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Monday, June 19, 2006

How to start a Business in India

I have been searching for a while for resources and trying to contact consultants to help starting a business in India. At first I found only few links which talk about this topic and explain various options available and what needs to get started. And these links only talk in very brief and summarized format just to give an overall idea but not give enough information to decide any thing for example the form of organization. And there are one or two links that gives a hint about the steps involved in starting a business. Having little knowledge and details, I was desperate to find a consultant who can handle this for me. I did not succeed even in that almost for 3 weeks now.

But I am very happy and thrilled today for I found some links and websites which not only have thorough information about many aspects of starting a business in India, but also there are portals which allows an entrepreneur to take care of most of the steps in starting a business online. That is true, most of the stuff can be done online. I was suprised first and then amazed to see that there is a portal for everything.  I have jotted down lots of notes and stored many of clips using Google Notes. I will organize all my notes and share it on my blog here in the next few days.

If you are looking for any information regarding starting your business in India, please bear with me and Please visit towards the end of the week. I will have all the compiled information on this blog by end of this week.

Update on 21st June, 2006: I have compiled various Links on How to start a business in India and posted here.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Can I see or detect if my internet traffic is differentiated?

Answer to that question is, I don't think so. There is so much technical complexity involved, that except few geeks  who work right on computer networks, not many people can detect if their Internet traffic is ever discriminated.  That is one of the reasons, I guess,  why we need Net Neutrality as a law, so that the Telcos will never try to discriminate your traffic, though you are not quite aware of.

There is a post at Save The Internet, that alleges Cox Communications of blocking Craigslist for almost three months. The security company Authentium, who handles security for Cox Communications reportedly explained with technical details why users can not reach Craigslist website. It looks like there is problem with the computers that hosts the craigslist website. Here is the reply from rnapier, strongly suggesting that the behaviour is normal and as per the specification. .

Has anyone here actually read the response from Authentium? Far from “opaque,” it pretty clearly (if technically) explains the problem and why this has nothing to do with blacklists:

“The network packets coming from the Craigslist.org web site were unusual in that they contained a zero-length TCP window that usually indicates a server is too busy to handle more data. The Authentium firewall driver responded by sending data only one byte at a time. This slowed down the web request and made the Craigslist.org web page load very slowly or not at all.”

From RFC 793  (which defines TCP/IP): ” Flow Control: TCP provides a means for the receiver to govern the amount of data sent by the sender. This is achieved by returning a “window” with
every ACK indicating a range of acceptable sequence numbers beyond the last segment successfully received. The window indicates an allowed number of octets that the sender may transmit before
receiving further permission.”

Returning a 0 means “please talk to me very slowly.” Literally it means “don’t talk to me at all” but because that’s nonsense, sites generally interpret it as “I’m overloaded; slow down.”

I’ve verified this response myself by connecting to craigslist:

15:52:00.751836 IP www.craigslist.org.http > lemming.ranjan.org.47734: S 1639327951:1639327951(0) ack 3799817961 win 0

Note the final “win 0″ that confirms exactly the problem that Authentium claims.

Summary: craigslist told Cox to please speak to it very slowly. Cox did, but for longer than craigslist explicitly requested. Fixing this for craigslist could break other sites, so some caution in shipping a fix is justified.

The fact that SaveTheInternet posted this as an “opaque” response without further comment raises a question of how much STI actually knows about how the Intenet works.

This brings out an interesting question. Will some geeks atleast, if not common users be able to detect  if any internet traffic is discriminated by any service provider at all? Is it always possible to detect so? It looks like from this post at Save the Internet, every body is confused and I don't have a comfort feeling that we can surely detect if ever some traffic is discriminated and it is done for normal or allowed reasons or not. I think, with such a naivette, that if net neutrality is enabled as law, may be no telco will try to do it. 

Update: Richard Bennet's blog posting "Know-nothing claims about site blocking" has lot more information and discussion about this issue. And also Richard Bennet and PBCLiberal commented on this blog that it is possible to detect if internet traffic is differentiated using existing tools, if you understand the internet protocols. For those of us who do not understand, we have to wait for somebody to write a simple tool to hint if there is any unusual stuff detected. See comments for more.

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Nokia and Siemens to merge


Nokia and Siemens to Merge Telecommunications Arms


Further fueling the consolidation in the telecommunications equipment and technology market, two giants in the business are merging their respective telecom gear businesses — Nokia and Siemens will merge into a single company, according to the Wall Street Journal. In a deal valued at €25 billion ($31.5 billion), Finnish Nokia and German Siemens will combine their telecommunications businesses in a new company to be headquartered in Finland and run by Nokia’s executive Simon Beresford-Wylie.



Saturday, June 17, 2006

Speech Recognition in Microsoft word - My first blog post completely dictated

There are so many features that we might not have used in Microsoft word that are so useful and handy. For example you can dictate your blog posts using the dictation feature in Microsoft word.


This blog posting has been dictated using Microsoft word dictation feature, completely. I added only commas and divided into paragraph.  It’s sometimes difficult to get everything correct first time, thanks to my Indian accent but it’s not a big deal. I guess it takes time to train it. Moreover, once we have the basic text ready, it is easy to edit the text, than typing all text ourselves. I can’t believe it’s a lot of fun to play with it. It did not understand blog, I had to train it first.


If you never tried the dictation feature, try it out. It took almost 6 minutes to dictate this post. You might enjoy it.  Not just that,  you can also relieve your fingers. Go to tools menu and click on speech. The speech toolbar will appear on the right hand top corner. Click on Dictation to start. You can also use voice commands while using word even though you are not using dictation.


It is so cool and easy to use. Maybe I can do more accent training so that it gets used to my accent.  Pretty soon I can completely use word to type my blog posts. I have to use keyboard and mouse all the time in my office. At least when I am blogging or using computer at home I can use Microsoft speech recognition software, to give rest to my fingers a little if not completely save myself from CTS(Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).


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Bill Gates to open doors of his heart to the world, stepping away from windows

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates announced (Announcement Video) on Friday that he will be working part time at Microsoft and full time at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by July 2008. However Bill Gates insisted that "he is not leaving Microsoft" and will continue to serve as Chairman even after July, 2008.

Bill Gates  Bill Gates world's most  

(Photos from Flickr)

It has been a phenonenal and legendary journey for Microsoft and Bill Gates. If it is not for Bill Gates and his Microsoft,  not many of us wouldn't have seen PC by this time. Despite the evolution of technology and greate entrepreneurs and competitors, still more than 90% of the desktops are powered by Microsoft Windows Operating system, a greatest of all feats, in a sense a miracle that only Microsoft could achieve in this cut throat competition era.

The Microsoft and the world of technology and business will miss a great and unparalleled visionary, but for a much greater and noble reason. With full time contributions from Bill Gates, the foundation now could expand its helping hand to more countries and give life to a lot more people. Bravo Bill Gates.You may be missed a little in the developing countries, but your presence will be now felt in the hearts of lot more people than you have won with your Windows. I read it as "Bill Gates is stepping away from windows to open doors of his heart to the world".

You can read a lot more at the following links about Microsoft and Bill Gates:

  1. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  2. Time Line of Microsoft History

  3. The best stories on the world's richest man at CNN


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Interesting stats of messaging at GigaOM

 Interesting facts about various communication tools that we use every day at GigaOM: http://gigaom.com/2006/06/12/fun-facts-about-email/

Friday, June 16, 2006

TiECON East Podcasts

For those of you who could not attend to the TiECON East being held in Boston today and tomorrow (16th and 17th June, 2006), you may be missing the live action. But not  spirit of TieCON, its key messages and all the information. Podcasts of sessions from TieCON East will be made available through Podtech. Here is the link to TiECON East Podcasts.


Three podcasts are already available from TiECON East.



  1. TiE Global Chairman Apurv Bagri Opens TiECON East 2006

  2. TiECON East: Emerging Trends in Due Diligence and Investment Research

  3. TiECON East 2006: Harvard’s Stevenson Delivers Keynote on Predictive Intelligence


Here is the link to TieCON East Web Page. Podcasts from TieCON 2006 Santa Clara are also available at podtech.


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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Best time to start a business is NOW

Many analysts are already started predicting that this is another Tech bubble, not just because many opportunities are too good to be true, but also because of the vast inflow of venture capital funds. But Bud Colligan and Mike Boich, venture capitalists say in this podcast ("Bud Colligan and Mike Boich - New Venture Opportunities") that


"it is a solid market. If you know how to decode it, an entrepreneur can capitalize on a growing demand for web based services and products. Ideas which looked unrealistic 5 years back are looking great today."

Few reasons why it is the best time to start a business, particularly a web based business:

  1. Internet has reached a considerable critical mass of  users for any web based business to take on.

  2. With the advent of broadband connections, users can download bandwidth intensive data and applications like video.

  3. Too many people are using internet and the number is growing crazy. This will introduce unexpected security issues.

  4. Almost all internet users are interesting in some kind of social networking.

  5. Lots of web based consumer products

  6. Extensive use of Multi media products like photos, music, video.


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IIT-ians joining startups

Rajat's DreamOn blog : Post here.



27 graduates out of the 35-student electrical engineering batch at IIT Mumbai have opted for jobs with start-ups rather than top-tier companies.



That's a welcome sign. I am very happy with this news item, for all good reasons:



  1. They realized that they can not unearth their true potential by working within the cubes of bigger hulks, but in a free minded startups. If they had any thing better than other graduates in India, let them show the world what they got. 

  2. In the past, if IITians are any good, so far they only got a better job. Nothing more to celebrate. Now if these new generation IITians are any good, we will see some great new cool products on the horizon. Little test to the hype of inflated merit of the IITians.

  3. They did not follow the blind alley of fetching a job at a multinational and showing their mettle that they are different and they want to be distinct.


If you count the number of startups and successful ventures so far, startups with IITians are not on far with the media hype. Its is the graduates from other colleges who started venturing into entrepreneursip before IITians pissed off at big companies and started thinking about starting their own.  I hope atleast this would help to shift the media attention to brave and innovative startups, which they surely deserve.


I do not think that because IITians are joining startups, miracles will happen. Remember, IITians are following the paths of graudates from other colleges, who have ventured the path with conviction and ambition in the first place. Media attention is a bonus for the startup though. And I hope they have some creative minds that India can finally get the benefit of.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cool Blogs: Few blogs I love to read

Over the last 4 months, I have visited many selected blogs ( I didn't keep a count, but based on my notes,  around 150) particularly looking for information and discussion at length on various topics about Startups. I have been looking more precisely for software or technology startups. Not many are there dedicated to Software Startups, but very much wandering about all kinds of businesses; someone said it best "wandering generality than a meaningful specific".


I found a few startling things to my surprise. Most of the blogs almost always are following a pattern, in little realistic words, they are called stereotypes. Here are the top observations: (Note: Read they/them as Blogs or blog owners.)



  1. Most of them never have or had any kind of startup experience. Some of them are though, self employed or independent consultants; other than that they never started or operated any kind of business that is bigger than a 1 man operation.

  2. Most of them link their posts to each other and edify each other every other day. And many times, a greater percentage of comments left on these blogs are left by these owners themselves. Kinda of network marketing, each other's blogs.  I am afraid they all must have read the same book on 'how to market your blog'. 

  3. Most of the discussions are on 'good to have' or 'good to do things'. And interestingly larger portion of posts are, 'hey this is the way  I think one should start up a business or market or do some thing about a startup. What do you think?'.

  4. They almost all participate in affiliate marketing, means they promote  books and products on thier posts at every opportunity they get, without ever offering any justification or their own experience of benefits about the product. Some times, the posts are so obviously written just to promote a book or a product.

  5. Not many blogs discuss any issue in depth. The content and discussion is always just scratching the surface. May be they do not have real world experience of a startup company, so I can not expect any deeper understanding than just nice to have 'common' stuff.

  6. I can not say, I haven't learnt anything from them, but I bet there is nothing new or indigenous on many posts. Very few have real world experience. And very few talked about, hey this is what we did, this is how we faced the problems and this is how we achieved the success.  I wish to spend some time sharing about these few gems, along with stereotypes. I wish to share the reasons why I think some may be just a waste of time going through.


I can not resist quoting from Tom Peters blog about why some times common sense and general principles are dangerous and need specific information and advice:



Tom Peters Blog : "TRAPPED. It's not because you are making the wrong decisions. It's because you are making the right ones. We try to make sensible decisions based on the facts in front of us. The problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everybody else." - Paul Arden, former Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi



My first posting on the Cool Blogs section will be about the blog that promises to offer Practical advice to Software Startups. It has kept its promise beyond my expectations and worth every second I spent at this blog. http://www.OnStartups.com.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

On Startups: Why your software is not selling

A very thought provoking post with questions that offers a fresh perspective about the product a startup is offering, posted in a ingenious conversation format.

http://www.onstartups.com :  Why your software is not selling?

Possible Reasons Why Your Software Isn’t Selling 




  1. Lack of visibility:  Nobody knows who you are.

  2. Lack of leads:  Not enough people you can convert to customers.

  3. Value Unclear:  Prospects can’t figure out what it is you actually do for them.

  4. Value Clear, But Not Compelling:  Prospects know what you do, but couldn’t care less.

  5. Trials Too Difficult:  You’ve made it too hard for prospects to try your product – and few will buy without trying.

  6. Competing On Price:  Startups need to differentiate, but on something other than price.  You’re trying to compete on price.

  7. No Credibility:  Prospects have no reason to believe you will be around in 6 months.

  8. Too Hard To Buy:  You’ve somehow managed to convince a prospect to buy, but the buying process itself is too difficult.

  9. Client Risk Greater Than Zero:  Your customers are having to absorb some level of risk (e.g.:  You don’t have a money-back guarantee, you have long-term contracts, etc.).




Monday, June 12, 2006

Senate hearings on Net Neutrality tomorrow

As reported at ZDNet news,  the Senate Commerce Committee released a revised version of the Telecommunications bill that includes no Net Neutrality Regulations. There may be a revision to include Net Neutrality later in the week.

As it stands today, FCC will be authorized, ONLY to monitor and report incidents that are considered as violations of Net Neutrality principles. The committee might put the final version of the bill on 20th of June. So, probably we won't hear much about it until later of the week, where a revision that include Net Neutrality is available, if any.

Mean time, Washington Post in its editorial revealed itself to the public that its Broadband network means a lot more than the principles behind the whole Net Neutrality battle. Read its twisted arguments revealed at 'Post Editors Get Slippery on the Facts'.

How come they missed the whole point?
The advocates of neutrality suggest, absurdly, that a non-neutral Internet would resemble cable TV: a medium through which only corporate content is delivered. ..... If one broadband provider slowed access to fringe bloggers, the blogosphere would rise up in protest -- and the provider would lose customers.

As pointed out by the posting at http://www.savetheinternet.com, not many of us really have a choice to move around. I have stayed in 4 different neighbourhoods in the last 2 years within Texas. I never had a choice to choose my ISP, because there is only one sevice provider available. Even at my current location, we only have Verizon for phone and DSL and dish network for television. The net quality is so bad, that we almost complain every weekend. We have no choice, but to live with it.  To add to it, now they have 1 or 2 year contracts making it difficult to switch even when a choice is available.
The weakest aspect of the neutrality case is that the dangers it alleges are speculative. It seems unlikely that broadband providers will degrade Web services that people want and far more likely that they will use non-neutrality to charge for upgrading services that depend on fast and reliable delivery, such as streaming high-definition video or relaying data from heart monitors.

We don't even know if this is already happening with my service provider. How can a common consumer detect that his traffic is differentiated?  Read MULTIPLE PLAY: PRICING AND POLICY TRENDS published by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), for some facts and statistics about already enforced Bit Caps around the world. And why would a body like OECD mentions the following if there is nothing happenning?
Bit caps (data usage restrictions on broadband connections) could be used to provide an unfair competitive advantage for infrastructure operators, provided the services obtained from independent service providers count towards traffic limits but services from the network operator do not. Today, some operators block ports for security or marketing reasons. Others have left open the possibility of blocking outside services in the future as a way to increase security and control bandwidth usage. By blocking ports or Web sites, multiple play providers could potentially create a "walled garden" whereonly the operator’s own services would be available to subscribers.

The real problem if Net Neutrality not as a Law is that normal subscribers would never realize that they are being subjected to differential treatment. They think that the website itself is loaded, so responding slowly, but never that their traffic is being gated.

We need Net Neutrality essentially as a legal assurance that common consumer will not be exploited and to safeguard the free market, where consumer will have final choice and freedom to choose what he/she wants.

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Motorola to start Handset plant near Chennai, India


News link : Motorola has announced plans for an Indian manufacturing facility with an initial investment of US$30 million. This will be scaled up to a total of US$100 million in phases. The company will establish a manufacturing plant in the 300 acre Sriperumbadur Hi-tech Special Economic Zone (SEZ) being developed jointly by Motorola and Government of Tamilnadu at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai.


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Sunday, June 11, 2006

On "Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism"

Links : Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism By Jaron Lanier at Edge.org



The hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?


The problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.



Very thought provoking and revealing essay. To my amazement, the collective knowledge is a trap. First, due to lack of authenticity, personality and authority over the content that is being written at Wiki. Second, most of the content written in wiki is compiled from other sources, mostly available on the web itself, by a person who may not have any authority on the content, what so ever.  Another problem is with the search engines' logic to put wiki first than the original document in the search results, because they also follow 'popular' link route than 'original' link route.


So while wiki can help as a compilation and thus might save your time going through all the web pages and books to understand some thing, it misses the authenticity and authority of the content.  You are therefore at your own risk to use the content at wiki or any collective space on the web for that matter.  


Factual statements and reporting is okay, but when it is about an opinion, position or an argument, such an expression is completely faceless.


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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Greencards issued by Region and Country from 2003 to 2005

Here is a graphic lists out Green cards issued between 2003 and 2005. Mexico leads the table followed by India and China in that order. The report has lots of interesting statistics that might interest you. I understand each country has some kind of quota allocated for Green cards. If these statistics speak for any thing, then India got around 7.5% allocations in the quota.


In 2005, a total of 1,122,373 persons became LPRs of  the United States (see Table 1). The majority (66 percent) lived in the United States when they became LPRs. Nearly three-fifths (58 percent) were granted permanent residence based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States. The leading countries of birth of LPRs were Mexico (14 percent), India (8 percent), and China (6 percent).

Reference : Annual Flow Report April 2006
Greencards by Region and Country
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Greencards to Triple with Immigration Reform Bill

Wow, thats a great news. Greencard cap (Employment based) will be tripled for next 10 years once the Immigration Reforms Bill becomes law.  
"S. 2611 would essentially triple the current green card  cap (“immigrant visa cap”) for employment-based green cards (to 450,000 annually for 10 years) and double the number of family-based green cards (to 480,000 annually). " http://rpc.senate.gov/_files/L37Immigration051506LB.pdf

That would reduce the waiting time for the current applicants and new alike. Time to get it started if you are planning for. Have a look at the current processing times for Greencards, you would have an idea of what is current waiting time. It sucks. If you file on EB2, it takes about 3 years, and on EB1 it takes around 5 years.


































Employment-   Based Other Countries CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st  C 01JUL05 01JAN06 C C
2nd C 01JUL04 01JAN03  C C
3rd  01JUL01  01JUL01  08APR01 22APR01 01JUL01

Check the latest here. http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_2924.html

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Friday, June 9, 2006

MIT World: The World Turned Upside Down

MIT Video Lecture: The World Turned Upside Down: The Impact of the Return of India and China to their Historical Global Weight



ABOUT THE LECTURE:
The world isn’t so much flat as gravely tilting, “and may be on the way to some kind of self-destruction,” believes Clyde Prestowitz, Jr. We’re due for a major rebalancing of global economic might, which the U.S. may well experience as catastrophic change. There are historic cycles, he tells us. As recently as 1850, China was the world’s largest economy, but by 1950, the U.S. and Europe had come to dominate the scene. Once again “the hinge of history is taking a big turn.” China and India are fast overtaking Western nations in economic growth, driven by the digital revolution: “Half the world has come onto the capitalist road …at the moment when the road becomes a freeway,” says Prestowitz.

The implications are staggering. While millions may rise from poverty, the possibility that these new economies develop along the lines of the American consumer model means increased competition for global natural resources, such as water and oil, and a drastic rise in global warming.

In the meantime, says Prestowitz, Americans “are having a party.” This nation is the world’s only net consumer, while everyone else is a net seller. We assume the dollar holds universal sway, since all international commodities, from coffee to airplanes to semiconductors, are priced in dollars. So we run huge trade deficits, and live above our means, while we “outsource the management of the value of the dollar to Asia.” This is unsustainable, Prestowitz warns. The central banks of China and Japan, which each hold a trillion dollars, “have become increasingly nervous” about the value of the money the U.S. prints, and may start to “dump dollars” in exchange for gold and other commodities.

Prestowitz says the U.S. still has “the best hand of cards” but is playing them as badly as possible. We must balance the federal budget deficit right away, through tax increases; prepare for a drastically devalued dollar; and strive for global agreements where Asian nations agree to spend more, and the U.S. agrees to save more.



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Bit caps - What to expect from Telecom companies if Net Neutrality fails

Happy with the last nights rejection of Net Neutrality in the House of Representatives, Telecom companies will soon be giving a generous gift to its consumers, called 'Bit caps'. They have promised themselves to give this gift to their consumers now or little later but definitely. This time, they mean it. People, that rejected the Net Neutrality, do you know what is in the making and what can be expected from these greedy Telcos? Here you go.One tiny step. Bit caps.

If you have a internet connection from one of these greate Telecom companies, they setup a bit cap, a limit on the amount of data you can download or upload. That is not bad at all. But here is the problem. If you download video from the Telecom company, then that data will not count to the cap. You can download almost unlimited video from your company. But if you download a video from Google or youtube for example, then that video would count to the cap. Once you reach the cap you must pay for each bit you download. In plain words what Telecom companies are saying is that, "Use our service or Pay for each bit!". This is one of the benefits what telcos call 'competition brings so many benefits to customers' if net neutrality is not enforced. This is how they define competition. Dictionaries and common sense calls it 'exploitation' of their size and network to reach. FTC calls it 'Anti-competitive'. But these guys know how to play it to their advantage, just like they got Net neutrality rejected in HR. 

If you are following Net Neutrality debate, you must have heard that Telcom companies said there is no discrimination at this point. And so we don't need a law to prevent something that does not happen. Read the report "MULTIPLE PLAY: PRICING AND POLICY TRENDS"  published by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). There is some thing called 'Bit caps' mentioned in the document that is already in force in many countries.
Bit caps : One potential bottleneck in multiple-play markets is the anti-competitive potential of bit caps in a few OECD markets. Bit caps are  limits on the amount of data traffic that subscribers can use in a given month. Once a subscriber reaches a bit cap they either pay an additional fee per Megabyte transferred or have their connection reduced to dial-up speed. The potential problems arise because providers typically do not include video streams from their own servers in the calculation of bit caps but the caps would apply on content such as videos from other sources. For example, TV quality video streaming would require roughly 2 Mbit/s for standard definition television. That equates to 256 KB per second of video or roughly
15.4 MB per minute of television viewing. A subscriber with a 2 GB bit cap would run over their monthly allotment in only 129 minutes of television viewing from a competitive provider.

Folks, who rejected the Net Neutrality bill, do you understand what is in the making?

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