National

Clamour for Net neutrality grows online

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday joined the chorus on social media demanding that the Union government maintain Internet neutrality. “AAP committed to neutral internet. India MUST debate #NetNeutrality. I support #Saveinternet,” he tweeted. Social media has been flooded with posts on Net neutrality, demanding that service providers treat all data

online equally and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, site, platform, or application.

While the debate has been going on at the global level for a long time, in India it was triggered when the country’s largest operator Airtel in December announced plans to start charging customers for VoIP services, such as Skype and Viber.

The debate gained national momentum when telecom regulator TRAI came out with a consultation paper inviting user comments on the subject. In reply to this, over 1 lakh emails were sent to the authority through the website savetheinternet.in.

People from all sections of society, including politicians, corporate leaders and actors, have come out in support of the campaign. Topics such as #SavetheInternet, #Netneutrality have been trending on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. The government has formed a six-member committee comprising Telecom Ministry officials to examine the issue. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who has in the past backed Net neutrality, said on Monday that the panel would be submitting its report by the second week of May. He said Internet was one of the finest creations of the human mind and it was the property of the entire human race and not of any country or society.

“Internet to become entirely global should have a link to local and when we talk of digital inclusion it must be available to the underprivileged and [those] on the margins,” Mr. Prasad said.

Airtel recently announced another initiative, Airtel Zero, an open marketing platform that allows customers to access a variety of mobile applications for free, with the data charges being paid by start-ups and large companies. This too is considered to be against Net neutrality. Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal received a lot of flak for supporting Airtel Zero on Twitter. He later clarified that he is not against Net neutrality. Comedy group AIB created a video to make Indian Netizens aware of Net neutrality and this went viral over the weekend. Music composersinger Vishal Dadlani posted his own video seeking support for the cause. Countries like Chile, the Netherlands and Brazil have already adopted Net neutrality. Even the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has backed Net neutrality, saying the Internet should be treated as a public utility.

Digvijaya’s support ANI reports:

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tweeted: “I support Net Neutrality and had asked question in Rajya Sabha. Answer— GOI considering! Consider? Just do it!” “#SaveTheInternet Request to all my followers on facebook and twitter pl support this movement. Country needs NET NEUTRALITY. Go ahead!” he added.


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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 11:04:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/clamour-for-net-neutrality-grows-online/article7099284.ece

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