Questions raised on net neutrality at Digital India Week

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bitsAs Prime Minister shared venue with the telecom bosses on the launch of Digital India, a group of net neutrality champions, raised their voices against the differential pricing telecom companies impose, regarding data services. Seven representatives of the ‘Save Internet Campaign’ questioned the committee on why the government is not resisting the market tactics of telecom giants. These firms would rob net users of the freedom to log on to apps and websites of their choice with their business tactics, they said.

‘Save Internet Campaign’, which was began after a consultation paper on how  the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) proposed differentially priced net access, slammed at the face of the committee, that it is exactly the pricing which is the point of contention, of the entire net neutrality debate is.

When Anurag Thakur, the Chairman of the committee tried to calm them down by saying that the telecom companies were trying to make up for the loss they suffered when the people stopped using mobile phone services, the volunteers countered it by proving that it is data trade which earns the companies more profit.

The available sources say that the report from the Department of Telecom, which is under preparation, licenses the agreements to charge differentially, for the use of different apps – which is obviously against net neutrality. The government’s act of avoiding any consumer representatives for the meeting has, by now, awakened enough furore among the opposition and the general public. This stance, has been opted for, by senior BJP leader LK Advani; the criticism has came from the PM’s own party member, regarding the pro telecom approaches.

Most political parties have accepted the concept of net neutrality and have argued for it in the parliament. If this situation persists, a time will come when consumers approach a random data shop and ask for apps, websites and services in quantity, just like a grocery shop. 

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