With internet freedom on the brink of facing extinction, the social media is abuzz with trending hashtags like #NetNeutrality and #SaveTheInternet.
In the present scenario, at the time when Internet has become an integral and incredible part of one's life, the Internet Service Providers are trying to control the online traffic.
As many netizens continue to wonder what exactly net neutrality is, here is a complete guide on what all you should know about Net Neutrality in India.
What is Net Neutrality?
Network neutrality is the idea that your cellular, cable, or phone internet connection should provide access to all websites and online traffic in 'neutral' and 'equal' manner, without giving priority to any other website.
In simple terms, Net Neutrality is the Internet's guiding principle that "preserves our right to communicate freely online".
Even though the internet had been neutral and unregulated since 1998, in 2006, TRAI had invited opinions regarding the regulation of net neutrality from various telecom industry bodies and stakeholders.
Why is free and open internet important?
Free and open Internet stimulates ISP competition, helps prevent unfair pricing practices, promotes innovation, promotes the spread of ideas, drives entrepreneurship and most importantly protects freedom of speech.
How you are being deprived of your internet freedom?
As per a report published in Business Insider, "some internet service providers want to fundamentally alter the way the internet works and collect money from companies like Netflix and Facebook to guarantee their data can continue to reach users unimpeded.'
If you don't pay the amount charged, then they will slow your internet speed.
With net neutrality, we got the freedom to access whatever we want to search on Google, and make contacts on social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter and countless other services.
Net Neutrality: "My Choice"
Whether you are playing games on Facebook or you are sending an official mail to a client, it is 'your choice' to not be governed by the whims and wishes of the telecom operators.
It is your choice and not your Internet Service Provider's choice to control "how exactly you use your 1GB 3G data pack".
Presently, in India, most of the ISPs adhere to the principal of gentlemen's agreement of net neutrality.
What if there is NO internet Neutrality?
How would you react when you have to deal with an extremely slow internet speed? Well, that will change the way you used to access internet, with lots of blockages like "ifs and buts". The ISPs will charge more if you want to watch videos on YouTube and there would be "package plans", that will burn a hole in your pockets.
You may even have to pay more through "add-on charges" to access international websites. Those who won't pay have to go through slow internet speed.
What TRAI is planning to do?
TRAI is planning to allow telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone to block apps and websites to extort more money from consumers and businesses, that is an "extreme violation of net neutrality."
TRAI's intentions must be to protect the rights of consumers and not think about the profit margins of telcom operators.
Net neutrality: Airtel defends data pricing
Stating that the Internet is neutral and will continue to be so, a senior official from Bharti Airtel asserted that an operator has a right to maximise its revenue from customers.
How can you join the campaign #SaveTheInternet?
To ensure that you access internet in a fair manner, then join the fight for net neutrality.
- Click here: Save The Internet.
- Give your responses to 20 Questions, a consultation paper released by the TRAI.
- The last date for the submission is Friday, April 24. Submit your response at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Click here to Sign the petition, to not allow differential pricing of services on the Internet and let the consumers choose how they want to use Internet.
Bollywood Badshaah Shahrukh Khan also bats for internet freedom:
See how AIB guys are making you explain the Net Neutrality in their own way: