Net neutrality and internet.org

Net neutrality and internet.org are the most brought up subjects today. These two are so closely related.

Since the arrival of internet in India, there were no absolute laws to govern it. But what is net neutrality? According to it, all internet users can have access to any site or platform without being charged extra for it.

Net neutrality attracted public attention when airtel announced additional charges for making voice calls on WhatsApp, Skype etc while using its network. This caused a huge debate because net neutrality was guaranteeing free speech. And by doing away with it, the telecom operators could have free rein to discriminate against certain type of content. Most effected would have been the startups which would have no chance against the established platforms and companies.

Responding, the Telecom Authority of India (TRAI) sent out a consultation paper with twenty questions to public to seek their opinions. TRAI set the last date for feedback as 24th April, 2015. With it came up many other platform like change.org to support net neutrality. Obviously the feedback that TRAI got was most likely critical especially to Airtel. Admist this, unfortunately for Airtel, the introduction of Airtel Zero caused a huge backlash and soon Facebook along with Reliance Communications launched internet.org, to provide internet to less developed areas. According to internet.org, through Reliance Communication Networks, an user could have access to fourty sites including Wikipedia and Facebook, free of cost. Obviously, one had to be user of Reliance in order to benefit from the launch.

Internet.org received resistance because it was found going against the spirit of net neutrality by just offering few websites for free and ‘making world feel that Facebook and internet is same’. Despite everything, Facebook refused to withdraw. Today, internet.org is still going on. For net neutrality, the discussion is slowly abating and losing energy.

All through the debate and ruckus, where did the government stand? For that government has an answer. The ministry is not responsible and all the decisions will be taken by TRAI.

[author image=”http://www.aapkatimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Surbhi-Sindhu.jpg” ]I am Surbhi Sindhu doing English honours from Bharati College, Delhi University. I teach English language at schools in order to promote ‘global language’. I am currently working upon my French, and want to include it in my writing. I intensely believe that children are the building blocks of a society and need a broad exposure since young age. [/author]