Net neutrality in India

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Net neutrality is a well discussed subject in India. It has got more relevance in the current scenario and this Covid-19 lock down situation.

As of August 2015, there were no laws governing net neutrality in India, which would require that all Internet users be treated equally, without discriminating or charging differently by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication. There have already been a few violations of net neutrality principles by some Indian service providers. The government has once again called in for comments and suggestions regarding net neutrality as of 14 August, and has given the people one day to post their views on the MyGov forum. After this, the final decision regarding the debate was to be made.

The debate on network neutrality in India gathered public attention after Airtel, a mobile telephony service provider in India, announced in December 2014 additional charges for making voice calls (VoIP) from its network using apps like WhatsApp, Skype, etc.

In March 2015, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a formal consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services, seeking comments from the public. The consultation paper was criticized for being one sided and having confusing statements. It received condemnation from various politicians and Indian Internet users. The last date for submission of comment was 24 April 2015 and TRAI received over a million emails.

On 8 February 2016, TRAI took a revolutionary decision, prohibiting telecom service providers from levying discriminatory rates for data, thus ruling in favor of Net Neutrality in India. This move was welcomed not just by millions of Indians but also by various political parties, businesspersons, industry leaders , and the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners Lee.

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