Net Neutrality: Save the Internet campaigners slam telecom cos at panel meeting

Incidentally government had not invited any representatives of consumer groups in earlier standing committee meetings.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2015 7:54 am
Net Neutrality, net Neutrality in India, Net Neutrality government, India Internet, Save the Internet, Internet.org, Facebook Internet.org, Internet.org in India, Facebook Reliance Internet.org, Internet.org usage, Internet.org in India, Internet.org usage in India, Internet.org India users, How to use Internet.org, Where all is Internet.org available, Net Neutrality, Internet.org vs Net Neutrality, Net Neutrality in india, Net Neutrality in India, SavetheInternet.in, Internet debate, Technology, technology news NET NEUTRALITY: The report of the Department of Telecom which is under preparation, sources say, is likely to be in favour of licensing arrangements for service providers for use of apps – that is against net neutrality.

On a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the Digital India stage with a host of telecom bosses, consumer representatives slammed those companies in the meeting of the standing committee on communication and information technology, discussing the net neutrality issue.

Seven representatives of the “Save the Internet” campaign — started after a consultation paper of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India proposed to differentially price net access— told the committee as to why it is in the country’s interest that the government resist the business tactics of these firms that would rob net users of the freedom to log on to apps and websites of their choice.

When committee chairman Anurag Thakur tried to rationalise that telecom companies needed differential pricing for net access to make up for the losses they have suffered because people have stopped using mobile phones on roaming while travelling abroad, activists retorted saying it is not the calls but the data which is the real source of revenue. It is exactly the pricing which is the bone of contention in the net neutrality debate, they told him.

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The report of the Department of Telecom which is under preparation, sources say, is likely to be in favour of licensing arrangements for service providers for use of apps – that is against net neutrality. Incidentally government had not invited any representatives of consumer groups in the earlier meetings. It took a furore by opposition members who had questioned how the committee could come to a decision on such a crucial issue listening only to industry representatives, whose brainchild the differential pricing is.

At a meeting in May, BJP veteran L K Advani had spoken out against the government for not inviting consumer groups in the meeting. It was because of the outburst in that meeting of opposition members — supported by Advani — that civil society representatives were called on Wednesday’s meeting. MPs have now asked for representatives of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc also to be called to depose before the committee.

Most political parties have supported net neutrality as a concept on the floor of the Parliament, but so far only Trinamool Congress has made its stance clear on that count in the committee. Left is also said to have passed an internal resolution in favour of net neutrality. The standing committee meeting which went on for the entire day, started off with 19 MPs, but it was reduced to six post lunch.

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  1. D
    Deejay Dude
    Jul 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm
    Condition of big telco is like investment condition in NCR reality market... they have purchased a flat of 80 lacs and paying homeloan emi as 80 thousand per month ..but rent they are getting as 20 thousand per month.
    Reply
  2. P
    P.K.Chaudhuri
    Jul 2, 2015 at 8:04 pm
    Sir. The government is killing BSNL. No action is being taken either to revive it or to divest it lest it becomes compeor of private telecom operators like Reliance Telecom, Idea, Bharati Telecom etc. BSNL is a very inefficient company. Work culture is very poor. It is not possible for the government to manage it. BSNL must be privatised with majority shares allocated to DIIs and retail investors. All employees of BSNL must be allotted certain number of shares to improve their sincerity towards their responsibilities. Government must review and take early action before the company becomes so sick that revival becomes impossible.
    Reply