Come, Let’s Protect Net Neutrality

Net neutrality may seem like a dull subject to some, but protecting it is essential not only for the future of the Internet, but also for the future of our democracy. Net neutrality, simply put, is the fundamental principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and is based on our right to “communicate freely online”.

We want open, free Internet

We want open, free Internet

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web recently mentioned in a blog post that freedom of connection with any application to any party is the fundamental social basis of the internet. And is the basis of the society built on the internet.

The issue has recently created waves in India, which has until now enjoyed open, free and fair internet in every corner- from the corporate boardroom to the college cafeteria. This equality of opportunity is at the core of net neutrality, stimulates a virtuous circle between more competition, lower prices, higher connectivity and greater innovation, benefiting all citizens, as well as internet companies large and small. Hence, the importance of preserving net neutrality is obvious.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is mulling to form guidelines on the same, with internet being under relentless attack by major telecom seeking yet another advantage to tighten their grip on the market.

Meanwhile, the movement has gained further momentum as travel portal Cleartrip, broadcasting network NDTV and media conglomerate Times Group, anong others, pulled out of Internet.org, a partnership between Reliance Communications and Facebook that proposed to waive off data chargers for subscribers accessing a suite of websites and applications.

Experts believe, a tiered Internet will be great for the profits of telecom companies, but miserable for entrepreneurs, stifling the pace of innovation. Not only will big corporations gain an advantage, but also a small handful of them will have the ability to actively interfere with their competition. For example, an Internet provider that offers its own phone service could block access to Skype, or a cable company could disrupt a music app. worse yet, this could lead to online discrimination, with the providers obstructing controversial views to protect their financial or political interests.

Net neutrality is also essential to maintaining a genuinely open marketplace of ideas. However without net neutrality, a few major corporations would control which voices are heard most easily, and it would be much harder for grassroots groups, individuals, and small businesses to compete with large corporations and well-funded special interests.

With the Internet becoming a fundamental tool in our everyday life, people from all over India have raised their voice to keep Net neutrality alive and now its each one of our turn too.

TRAI on March 27 put up a consultation paper on its website asking users to give their views on net neutrality in India. The last day for netizens to send their views to Trai on the subject is April 24. Indians have sent over 1 lakh emails to TRAI over the issue through the website: savetheinternet.in. Let TRAI know that you need Net neutrality and defend the Internet freedom.

You could also sign this petition over at https://www.change.org/p/rsprasad-trai-don-t-allow-differential-pricing-…

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