Three days to go: Over 9 lakh emails sent in support of Net Neutrality, so far

The only topic that everyone is debating about on the Internet for now is all things related to - Net Neutrality. By definition, Net neutrality means that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

Protesting against rules trying to redefine the Internet, a website called www.savetheinternet.in was set up where anyone can send a mail directly to Trai, expressing their grief and discomfort about how telecom carriers are snatching away free Internet from them. In three days, netizens in India had sent more than 1.5 lakh e-mail petitions to Trai over the weekend.

Going by the latest figures, TRAI received over 9 lakh emails in support of net neutrality by April 19.

https://twitter.com/neutrality_in/status/589631612159045634

https://twitter.com/bulletinbabu/status/590364356573003777

 

Last week, over six lakh emails were sent by netizens.

https://twitter.com/neutrality_in/status/588369879578742784

By April 14, TRAI had received over three lakh emails.

https://twitter.com/neutrality_in/status/587787948348682240

https://twitter.com/jackerhack/status/587825201930342401

A group of Internet users had started the campaign asking the public to send submissions to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that seeks views by April 24 on regulating IM services such as WhatsApp, Skype and others.

"This is completely unprecedented. We thought we'll get about 15,000 e-mails in 10 days," Kiran Jonnalagadda, the founder of HasGeek and one of the people behind this campaign told The Economic Times.

On April 12, there were over one lakh emails sent to Trai.

While the debate over net neutrality has been the hottest topic online, a video by the stand-up comedy group AIB gave a further push to help the widespread of the issue. AIB created a nine-minute long video on net neutrality, which states that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application.

The only time before this, the maximum submissions to a government consultation was 18,000, for the New Telecom Policy in 1999. If you wish to know more about Net Neutrality and how this should concern every Indian, click here.

In layman words, Net neutrality means that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites. It was Airtel who created quite a stir with its new Zero marketing platform that allows users to access apps of participating app developers at zero data charges. It has even gone further to defend its pricing scheme and even found support from its partners like Flipkart's Sachin Bansal. In protest, several net neutrality supporters took to downvote the Flipkart app. Finally, Flipkart walked out of the partnership with Airtel, followed by Cleartrip, NDTV and others.

Net neutrality, is extremely important. After all, Tim Berners-Lee who invented the Internet had opened this platform to each and everyone and not just to a few companies or a select group of people. But unfortunately, there are a few telecom companies out there which want to seize away this liberty. It is not ethically correct to the public that they are imposed to pay extra for faster Internet speed to a particular site/service.

To put it out straight, if there is no net neutrality, the Internet won't function as we've known it too. It will mean Internet Service Providers (ISP) will be able to charge companies like YouTube as they consume more bandwidth, and eventually the load of the extra sum will be pushed to the consumers. Similarly, ISPs can then create slow as well as fast Internet lanes, which will mean all websites cannot be accessed at the same speed and one can do so only on paying an additional sum.

Moreover, free internet sounds tempting, but you need to be aware that you are only getting free access to services/apps which have struck a deal with the telcos. App developers and services flush with funds will not find it an issue to pay telcos for data charges incurred by users. But this can leave app developers, specially start ups, who cannot afford telcos' data rates are at a definite disadvantage.

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