19 January, 2021

A Digital Watershed

The unequivocal message from Indian netizens is that the internet must remain accessible, fair and open.

A Digital Watershed
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The last fortnight has seen much debate in the mainstream media on the issue of net neutrality. In an unprecedented display of activism, over 7 lakh Indian consumers have written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, making it abundantly clear that they will oppose the move of private telecom operators becoming gatekeepers of the internet. The unequivocal message from Indian netizens is that the internet must remain accessible, fair and open.

The 118-page-long consultation report titled ‘Regulatory Mechanism for Over The Top Services’ is testimony to the TRAI’s disastrous handling of the consultation process—ridden with inherent assumptions and absurd statements that completely betray the regulator’s bias. It’s a pity that the TRAI paper did not adopt a more broad-based approach in drafting the report on such an important subject, and instead chose to use confusing language that caused a restricted conceptualisation of net neutrality.

It is crucial to note, however, that the regulator is only emp­owered to make...

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