Net neutrality deadline ends tonight: Ball in Trai's court with 11 lakh mails sent, we can only wait now

Finally, the million mail mission is successful, and it took just 12 days. As the Trai deadline for comments by public on net neutrality ends tonight, the ball is now in Trai's court and all we can do is wait for the responses.

The million mail mission has been a success, and it took just 12 days. As the Trai deadline for comments by public on net neutrality ends tonight, the ball is now in the regulator's court and all we can do now, is wait for the responses.

Trai is expected to put out the responses on its website in the near future. "Now its up to Trai. Once they put out the responses to public on their website, depending upon the responses, we can counter it," Kiran Jonnalagadda, one of the volunteers at Savetheinternet Coalition told Firstpost.

Though Trai is expected to put out the responses by next week, the time frame isn't fixed, he said.

Given the overwhelming response Trai has received, it may be forgiven for taking a bit longer than anticipated, given that it has over 11 lakh emails to respond to!

100-200 people reportedly usually respond to Trai's consultation papers and Trai makes its recommendation in two to three weeks. However with such a large number of emails sent to Trai, it might take quite longer.

"With more than 11.8 lakh responses, Trai might take till June or July what with its current chairman set to retire on May 13th," Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP and net neutrality supporter told The Times of India.

The report adds that looking at the million responses, a Colombo-based think-tank LIRNEasia has offered Trai solutions like 'word clouds, opinion mining and semantic analysis, all based on natural language processing'.

Meanwhile, the ongoing net neutrality debate has now got a political twist.

Rahul Gandhi moved an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha and called the government pro-corporate. He also mentioned the need for a new law on net neutrality. In response, Prasad also took to reminding Gandhi how the UPA government had blocked Twitter handles in the past.

We have also heard numerous reports that Trai itself has not really bought into the argument that Facebook’s or Airtel Zero programs don't violate net neutrality, and that the DoT is also batting for net neutrality.

Howver, moved by Gandhi's speech in the Lok Sabha perhaps, we also for the first time, saw telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad come forth to reveal that the government stands for a free and open internet.

However, it is important to keep this issue apolitical. In fact Coalition has also appealed to parliamentarians and political leaders to refrain from politicising the issue.

“We urge with the utmost humility that – just like the Internet – the present effort should not to be appropriated by any individual, organisation or political party. We are an apolitical group and do not have any party allegiances, but we are grateful at the support shown to our concerns by political leaders across India’s political spectrum. We hope the cause of a free and open Internet continues receiving support from all people committed to our democracy,” the letter reads. Read the complete letter here.

Meanwhile, the volunteer group is now requesting that in the absence of a recommendation from TRAI and any decision from the government, telecom companies should be restricted from rolling out any plans and services that violate Net Neutrality. The group has also requested support from political parties as the issue impacts both the freedom of access to the Internet as well as survival of thousands of Internet-enabled Indian startups trying to Make In India.

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