Net Neutrality: Trai can make a recommendation, but govt to take the final call, says telecom minister

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While 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.”
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 called www.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 letter asking 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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