War of words over net neutrality continues

May 05, 2015 04:21 am | Updated November 28, 2021 07:39 am IST - MUMBAI

To counter the recent vociferous campaign by net neutrality proponents who had sent more than one million email petitions to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to keep the Internet free of any control by telecom companies, COAI, the telecom industry lobby, has claimed to have mobilised the support of more than 40 lakh (4 million) mobile phone subscribers who have voted to keep the Internet accessible and affordable to all.

The COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) said its ‘Sab ka Internet, Sab ka Vikas’ campaign for ‘net neutrality, net equality and consumer choice’ received an overwhelming support within a week. While more than 40 lakh people backed the cause, about 10 per cent of those contacted opted out. The mobile number database of all the supporters was auditable on request by the appropriate agency, it said.

According to the COAI, the campaign, launched on April 24, was aimed at “ensuring that everyone has the right to choose what he/she wants to access, ensuring access to solutions that make the Internet affordable for all and applying the same rules to the same services to all.”

“The 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,” COAI director-general Rajan S. Mathews said.

“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 invested by all the telecom operators in the space,” he said.

Analysts say the telecom companies insist there is nothing wrong with their Internet packages so long as they do not resort to any restrictive practice.

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