Net Neutrality: Govt will strive for ‘non-discriminatory availability’ of Internet, says telecom minister

Net Neutrality: Govt will strive for ‘non-discriminatory availability’ of Internet, says telecom ministerWhile everyone had an opinion on the ongoing net neutrality debate in India over the past couple of weeks, it is for the first time the government has spoken about the matter publicly. We’ve been hearing about how TRAI isn’t really buying Facebook’s Internet.org or Airtel Zero programs and DoT is also batting for net neutrality, but telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has come forth to reveal that government stands for free and open Internet.

Rahul Gandhi, who moved an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha said one million people are fighting for net neutrality and the govt is trying to carve out the net and hand it over to the corporates. Within moments of the speech, #RGforNetNeutrality started trending on Twitter.
In response, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Our PM has said that everyone should have access to the internet.” Adding that the PM is the most respected person on social media in India, Prasad assured that the government stands for net neutrality and will ensure a non-discriminatory internet is available.
“Trai can make a recommendation under Trai act but the final decision rests with the government,” he further added.
He also questioned, “We would like to know how and why the UPA govt blocked Twitter handles.”
“As far as the issue of net neutrality is concerned, for Internet expansion in India, the young people of the country have done a commendable job and my government will strive to ensure a non-discriminatory availability of Internet for the people of India, particularly the young people,” PTI quotes Ravi Shankar Prasad.
“It is a sensitive issue on which we need to take a proper, informed decision. The larger commitment of my government, on which I am very active is, we need to strive for a non-discriminatory Internet availability, he added.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you must have at least heard or read the word ‘net neutrality’ over the last week. That’s the hottest ongoing debate all over the Internet/social media, in India at least. The ongoing net neutrality debate has seen people with extreme views and also some others who believe that India shouldn’t rush into making any decision and weigh the pros and cons on both sides before taking a drastic decision.
Airtel had created quite a stir with its new Zero marketing platform. However, massive outrage forced its partner Flipkart to walk out of Airtel Zero. Soon companies like Cleartrip and NDTV walked out of Facebook’s Internet.org, a platform almost similar to Airtel Zero.
Protesting against the rules which threaten to redefine the Internet, a website calledwww.savetheinternet.in has been set up where anyone can send a mail directly to Trai, expressing their reluctance and discomfort about how telecom carriers are snatching away free Internet from them.  Those part of India’s startup ecosystem can also sign this letterasking PM Modi to preserve the open, competitive internet by enforcing net neutrality. Trai has already received over 9 lakh emails in support of net neutrality.
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