In TRAI inbox, a million messages in support of net neutrality

Save The Internet campaign creates record as people flood TRAI with emails.

Written by Saritha Rai | Bangalore | Updated: April 23, 2015 11:31 am
CCI, Net Neutrality, Competition Commission, Net neutrality in India, Internet Internet users are currently bombarding the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with 50 emails per minute and the campaign is just a few thousand emails short of a million.

Sometime in the next 24 hours, India will mark a massive milestone in digital activism. That moment will come when the ‘Save The Internet’ campaign crosses a record one million emails in what has been called the #MillionMailMission to protect net neutrality.

Internet users are currently bombarding the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with 50 emails per minute and the campaign is just a few thousand emails short of a million.

“It is the largest ever campaign conducted in this country within the shortest span of time — just over 10 days,” said Bangalore-based Kiran Jonnalagadda, one of the volunteers who spearheaded the online crusade.

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“It is a historic mandate for net neutrality,” said Sharmila Srinivas, a college student in Bangalore who has egged on her friends to mail TRAI.

Net neutrality is a principle that ordains that internet providers give all content and applications the same access without favouring particular apps or websites. On Wednesday, even Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi waded into the net neutrality debate in Parliament, saying that “the government wants to divide the internet among big industrialists”.

India has about 300 million internet users and over two-thirds of them access the internet through their cellphones. The emails have been in response to TRAI seeking public opinion on its proposal to allow the country’s telecom-cum-internet providers to charge differently for different uses of data. This means charging certain rates for email or internet browsing, and even more for use of apps like Whatsapp, Viber and Skype, whose rampant use has hit internet providers’ bottom lines in recent quarters.

But the backlash has forced Indian companies to distance themselves from Facebook’s Internet.org, an initiative to make selective content free to users, as well as Airtel Zero, a platform by the country’s largest internet provider, Airtel, wherein certain companies pay to make their services available to users.

What is remarkable is that the ‘Save The Internet’ campaign has been run by about four dozen professionals countrywide, who have taken time off their work schedules to organise the massive online dissent. Jonnalagadda, for instance, runs a platform for coders.

The campaign is singular in that it is only through social media – ironically, the same social networks that campaigners claim are subverting net neutrality in India. “We have not taken to the streets or gone offline,” said Jonnalagadda.

“It is one million emails to TRAI minus any trolling or harassing, quite unprecedented for digital activism,” said Nikhil Pahwa, editor of the Delhi-based MediaNama, which covers mobile and the internet.

When the campaign started, volunteers had hoped to reach 15,000 emails to TRAI, but to cross a million in 10 days was beyond their expectations. “It shows the magnitude of concern… the way we use the internet today may be destroyed because a few telecom operators want to take control of how we access the internet and, more importantly, what we access online,” said Pahwa.

The campaigners are asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and help ensure that the internet, which helped garner massive support for his election victory, remains free of influence and manipulation.

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First Published on: April 23, 2015 4:18 am
  1. F
    Fred
    May 5, 2015 at 1:39 pm
    Lot of duplicate posts. Are the same persons posting more than once rather than genuine comments. And yes I do support Net neutrality
    Reply
    1. A
      aavid khan
      Apr 24, 2015 at 12:28 pm
      I am supporting Net neutrality please keep free internet for all India I expect from Modi government. i support net neutrality freedom.
      Reply
      1. C
        Chavali
        Apr 23, 2015 at 5:05 pm
        A gentleman Rahul Khullar who heads TRAI makes idiosyncratic statement in the press to bully this movement. I think, a time had come in India that youngsters took this platform and mould and guide political and administrative decisions without violent and obstructive protests on a variety of topics: reforms of education; land bill; communal harmony and peace.
        Reply
        1. A
          Acharya
          Apr 23, 2015 at 5:26 pm
          I am a great supporter of NET NEUTRALITY. Of course the present Govt. may do in its capacity to open that up and give it the Corporates as they do for all Proposals. Hence its time that we Citi (Neti)zens wake up and guide the Political decisions. Land, Schemes, Contracts, Sops and now Net all given free to Corporates. Good Governance of ACCHE DIN BUT to whom?
          Reply
          1. D
            DHARMESH MEHTA
            Apr 24, 2015 at 11:49 am
            I am supporting Net neutrality please keep free internet for all India I expect from Modi government
            Reply
            1. H
              hariom singh
              Apr 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm
              i am support NET NEUTRALITY plese keep free internet keep free internet all india i support the internet freedom
              Reply
              1. J
                jaishree sinha
                Apr 24, 2015 at 12:38 pm
                #Save the internet..#Net Neutrality
                Reply
                1. M
                  Maneesh Gupta
                  Apr 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm
                  support the internet freedom.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Muthukrn
                    May 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm
                    I want net neutrality.
                    Reply
                    1. H
                      hari
                      Apr 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm
                      Internet neutrality is much important bcoz u can't rent each & every et of the internetwork plays a vital role in communicating with the people & educating the people and exploration of the world
                      Reply
                      1. K
                        kameshwar pandey
                        Apr 24, 2015 at 12:25 pm
                        Net nutrality is necessary for a democratic world
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          Rajveer Singh
                          Apr 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm
                          The present government should be take decision on the based of public opinion. Net neutrality will be free for all in across the India. I am standing with net neutrality freedom.
                          Reply
                          1. R
                            Raunaq Mukherjee
                            Apr 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm
                            The internet does not belong to you, Mr, Big Brother. Please stop trying to control it. Why i'm sure if you could have figured out a way to, you would tax us for breathing bloody air.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              sundararaman
                              Apr 23, 2015 at 9:07 am
                              we , the people of India want #Net Neutrality common to all . most of the people are moving with Modisarkar for many social medias and request of many grievances. Narendra Modi is moving freely in Net to all the people who wants to support grievances and also support to the Government . I hope NET NEUTRALITY IS THE BEST SOLUTION FOR THE SAME.
                              Reply
                              1. s
                                s.siva subrahmanyam
                                Apr 23, 2015 at 3:26 pm
                                Even million mails could not trace out 'WHERE WAS RAHUL'. This man comes from hideout and debates on Net Neutrality..How, the things are going on in a funny manner.
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  sourabh chouhan
                                  Apr 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm
                                  internet is a way to conact with every boby stop this and support net freedom
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    vaishnavi saikhede
                                    Apr 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm
                                    Internet is an important way of communication,not only communication its is an very important part of our life. so it should be affordable for atleast the maximum potion... I support for internet freedom
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      veerendra
                                      Apr 24, 2015 at 12:14 pm
                                      A gentleman veerendra who heads TRAI makes idiosyncratic statement in the press to bully this movement. I think, a time had come in India that youngsters took this platform and mould and guide political and administrative decisions without violent and obstructive protests on a variety of topics: reforms of education; land bill; communal harmony and peace.
                                      Reply
                                      1. V
                                        Vimal Sharma
                                        Apr 28, 2015 at 1:10 pm
                                        Why we have been asked to vote to continue a system which is already in place. It should be like if we will vote then the new plan or system will be implemented if we won’t the existing one will remain same as earlier.
                                        Reply
                                        1. V
                                          Vinod Maheshwary
                                          Apr 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm
                                          Free internet should remain effective media for communication, which would be essential for growth of all kinds of enterprises, reserach etc. If the freedom is annihilated it would be disastrous. Our next generation needs freedom too. We can not sacrifice it.
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Viswanath
                                            Apr 23, 2015 at 11:34 am
                                            May be, Prime Minister Modi's opponents are pushing the telephone operators to charge for everything the subscriber uses and discourage the telephone users using the internet etc. because they want to stop Modi contacting the m and the common people. Nothing is hitting the business of the Internet service providers, neither whatsapps or any other thing. It is only the opposition parties of Modi that are hitting the internet service providers
                                            Reply
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