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IIT, IISc, IIM faculty members back Net neutrality

Nearly 50 faculty members of India’s top educational institutions, which include the Indian Institutes of Technology in Bombay, Kanpur, Delhi, Madras, Patna, and Kharagpur; the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, have released a joint statement strongly supporting Net neutrality.

“There are no sound technical or economic reasons to violate Net neutrality. In fact, such a violation threatens the essential idea of the Internet itself. We urge the TRAI [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India] to maintain Net neutrality in its strongest possible form, as this is crucial for a digitally empowered India.”

It said the TRAI consultation paper’s argument that Net neutrality had to go to decongest the telecom network since 10 per cent of mobile-phone users consumed 90 per cent of the operators’ bandwidth was unconvincing. “The argument is fundamentally flawed technically, for congestion can be effectively addressed by looking only at the ‘quantity’ of data, while preserving Net neutrality. For instance, it could well be within the principles of Net neutrality to serve the first Gb of a user’s data fast and the second Gb of data slower and at a higher price,” it said.

“Network neutrality does not mean there is no service differentiation. It means that the choice for better service is made by the end customer, not the network … For instance, if a remote clinic wants a certain network capacity to a city hospital’s telemedicine portal, it chooses to buy that extra capacity by paying the network operator.” If the network operator made the choice, the clinic could end up with the same network capacity — not to the required hospital website, but to an e-commerce website, it said.

The statement criticised the consultation paper for using the term “over-the-top” (OTT) services, as though such services were some special services or applications. “While the term OTT is common outside the consultation paper, it is misleading all the same. It is like a road construction company calling a school accessible by the road as an over-the-top service. Sure, one has to use the road to reach the school, but the term suggests that the road somehow has a role in the school’s education service.”

Nasscom’s support

New Delhi Special Correspondent writes:

Software services body Nasscom on Wednesday came out in support of Net neutrality, arguing that restrictions on Internet access amounts to violation of the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. The industry body said such restrictions would suppress growth and success of innovation-driven tech start-ups and SME companies.


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Printable version | Oct 12, 2021 12:45:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iit-iisc-iim-faculty-members-back-net-neutrality/article7130994.ece

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