On simple terms, Net neutrality is the principle that all legal content on the Internet should be treated equally.
Until a few weeks ago, most web users in India hadn’t even heard of a concept known as net neutrality. But now the issue of net neutrality is one of the most talked about issues in India.
In an unparalleled campaign, India’s internet users have sent nearly 400,000 emails in the past 3 days asking TRAI to safeguard internet neutrality. The campaign is in response to TRAI soliciting public opinion on whether telecom firms, who are also India’s biggest internet service providers, can be allowed to charge different rates for different uses of internet data.
So what is net neutrality?
On simple terms, Net neutrality is the principle that all legal content on the Internet should be treated equally. Every internet user should be able to freely access any content or application without restrictions and Internet service providers should not favour, block or slow down access to any of it.
This means, once you pay for the data through your respective ISP, you have the freedom to access anything on the internet and at the same speed. So far Indians are enjoying the net neutrality. We have free access to internet and to browse the sites and access whatever information we require. But that can change!
What happens without Net Neutrality?
Without net neutrality you will be forced to abide by the rules set by your ISP. For instance, If you pay ₹249 for 1GB of 3G data for a period of 30 days; net neutrality gives you the freedom to use your data any way you want, but if there is no net neutrality, your ISP will control your bandwidth treating all websites and apps with different speed. To give you a better perspective, your ISP can charge you extra for WhatsApp, Skype and other VoIP apps. This tactic will be applied for websites and apps as well.
- How would you like, if your ISP charge you for using WhatsApp simply because your ISP wants you to use Hike?
- How would you like if one online store (say Flipkart) runs at an amazing speed and the other’s website (say Amazon) doesn’t even open?
Who will get affected?
Except Telecom operators and ISPs, pretty much everyone will get affected if there is no net neutrality. Obviously you have to pay extra cash for accessing extra content and services on the internet.
Start-ups and entrepreneurs are largely impacted by lack of net neutrality. Big companies like Google and Facebook with deep pockets can pay ISPs extra to get their services in the front line while small businesses will be damned.
Here’s another example, you love to blog and you use it as a method for free speech. But without Net Neutrality your blog would be render useless, because nobody will see it if you don’t pay a large fee to get it out there.
Should you join the fight?
Definitely, because TRAI’s deadline for submissions of any complaints against its “Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services” or simply put end of net neutrality ends on 24 April. If TRAI doesn’t receive enough complaints, it will pass the plan and India will see the first sign of Dark Age.
How you can save the Internet?
If you use internet then it is important you submit your disagreement to TRAI. To do so.
- Go to www.savetheinternet.in
- Click the “Respond to TRAI now” button
- Give your responses to 20 Questions
- Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday, 24 April
- Sign the petition to support net neutrality. Click Here
Share and ask your friends and family to do the same!
Join the fight for net neutrality and remind TRAI that their job is to protect the rights of consumers, not the profit margins of telcom companies. Let’s demand access to the free, open internet by protecting net neutrality.