When Airtel announced its VoIP plans, net neutrality became the central topic of discussion in India. During that time, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the government will look into the matter. And now for the first time, Prasad has finally spoken on the subject. Talking to Economic Times, he says that ‘the government is in favour of maintaining net neutrality as the Internet is an instrument for the masses and must remain so’.
Prasad touched upon the subject at a meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli. “The Internet must promote local along with the global. For India, net neutrality is very important,” he said.
He said that right now, no constructive plan is in place and discussions are on “As far as government architecture to deal with this issue is concerned, India is studying this and discussing it with stakeholders,” he added.
Net neutrality is the principle 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. At its core, the concept is that every piece of information on the public Internet should be as accessible as any other, without bias.
Novelli stressed that US’ stance on net neutrality was known to all. “Net neutrality is an area on which the US federal government has taken a firm stand that we do not want any compromises,” she said.
Net neutrality has been a topic of much debate last year. The voice on the subject is widely torn, with many finding it unnecessary, while some calling it a much needed initiative for startups to thrive. Recommendations on this matter are set to come in from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this year.