All you need to know about Net Neutrality


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It means that all data on the Internet should be treated equal. Internet users should be free to access all content and applications equally, regardless from where they access it.


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Image Courtesy :-https :// It means that all data on the Internet should be treated equal. I nternet users should be free to access all content and applications equally, regardless from where they access it. What is Net Neutrality?


01 The term was coined by Columbia University media law professor Tim Wu in 2003 The term is relatively new but the ideas underlying net neutrality have a centuries-old existence.  02 It started in the era of telegram in 1860 when standard telegrams were routed 'equally' without discriminating their contents & adjusting for one application or another. 03 Image Courtesy :- https :// +&oq=&gs_l=# Net Neutrality : A history


Net Neutrality and India The most recent debate on network neutrality in India started after Airtel, a telecom service provider, announced in December 2014 to charge additional rates for making voice calls (VoIP) from its network using apps like Whatsapp, Skype, etc. The fight however is a decade old! Image Courtesy :- https ://


01 Airtel Zero, a marketing platform, was launched on April 6, 2015. 0 2 The plan allowed it’s subscribers to access the participating apps at zero data charges. 0 3 Clearly in violation of the net neutrality, it faced instant criticism from the internet users Airtel Zero


TRAI published a consultation paper mentioning that even though the internet had been neutral since 1998, the situation might change in the future. TRAI invited opinions from telecom industry bodies and stakeholders. 2006 T he CEO of Bharti Airtel suggested that services like YouTube should pay an interconnect charge to network operators. He opined that ‘if telecom operators are building highways for data then there should be a tax on the highway.’ Feb. 2012 Bharti Airtel's Director of Network Services, suggested that large internet companies should share revenues with telecom companies. According to him, internet companies were making big profits from small investments, whereas the telecom companies were actually investing in building networks.  Jul. 2012 Airtel began offering certain Google services for free to its cellular broadband users. Jun. 2013 T he Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, said that the government would look into the legality of VoIP services. Feb. 2013 The Decade Old Fight


TRAI rejected a proposal from telecom companies to make messaging application firms share part of their revenue with the carriers or the government. Aug. 2014  Vodafone India’s CEO suggested that companies like Facebook and Whatsapp should be taxed to ensure a level playing field with telecom operators Oct. 2014 Facebook launched in India, in association with Reliance Communications. It aimed to provide free access to 38 websites through an app. Only Bing was made available as the search engine. Feb. 2015 Airtel announced the " Airtel Zero " scheme. Under the scheme, app firms sign a contract and Airtel provides the apps for free to its customers.  Apr. 2015 TRAI released a consultation paper on over-the-top services (OTT) and net neutrality for public feedback. Mar. 2015 The Decade Old Fight


As of 2015, India has no laws governing net neutrality. 01 TRAI’s guidelines for the Unified Access Service license promotes net neutrality but does not enforce it. 02 The Information Technology Act, 2000 also does not prohibit companies from throttling their service in accordance with their business interests 03 Where does India Stands Currently?


Image Courtesy :- https :// Reliance's free access to Twitter Airtel's free access to Google Aircel's free access to Facebook and Whatsapp Aircel's  Wikipedia Zero along Facebook's Violations of Net Neutrality


In March 2015, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services, seeking comments from the public. 01 The internet users were required to send their responses to the 20 questions spread across 118 pages, to TRAI by an e-mail by 24th of April, 2015. 02 Will the Internet in India be Chained?


Image Courtesy :- https :// The consultation paper has been severely criticized by the political leaders and internet users for being one sided and having confusing statements . By 18 April 2015, over 800,000 emails had been sent to TRAI demanding net neutrality.  By 24 April 2015, the number rose to 1 Million. Or will it Not?


This drew huge negative response Following the response Flipkart  decided to pull out of Airtel Zero. Flipkart was one of the first few companies to partner for “Airtel Zero” People roared their protest to Flipkart’s move by giving one-star rating to its app on Google Play. Flipkart Turns Down Airtel Zero


Prevent users from visiting some websites or apps Provide slower speeds for certain web services Redirect users from one website to a competing website. Buy priority access to ISP customers Giants like Google can pay to provide faster access to their websites O wn the internet by killing out new web startups and products While the companies can Without net neutrality rules , ISPs can Internet sans Net Neutrality


Net neutrality rules will prevent all this differential and preferential treatment of information on the internet by requiring ISPs to connect users to all lawful content on the internet equally, without giving preferential treatment to certain sites or services. Image courtesy :- http :// Internet was Born Free. Let it be!

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