As the deadline for comments on Net neutrality ended yesterday, as many as 73,326 people posted their views on the DoT report on mygov.in, the government’s platform for citizen engagement. Also Read - TRAI's new SMS regulations will prevent spam, fraudulent messages: Here's howAlso Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questioned
The government had sought public comments following a controversy on zero-rated plans that are seen to be discriminatory. It will firm up regulations after taking into consideration the public opinion and regulator TRAI’s suggestions. As there has been a surge in comments, the deadline was extended to August 20, from the original August 15. Also Read - Airtel gains most mobile subscribers in January 2021 when compared to Jio, Vi: TRAI
The number of comments on August 14 stood at around 700, which rose sharply following campaigns by online groups like Save The Internet and AIB. Most people who shared their views have lent their support to Net neutrality, which means equal treatment for all Internet traffic, without discrimination or priority for any person, entity or company. “I don’t want licence on websites and social networking apps like Whatsapp. I want to access everything,” said one who sent in comments. “I support Net neutrality. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) should not put any limitations on websites that one can access freely,” said another.
TRAI in April had received over 1 million comments, with a majority supporting implementation of Net neutrality. A DoT panel has proposed regulation of domestic calls through Internet-based apps like Skype, Whatsapp and Viber by putting them on par with services offered by telecom operators. However, the committee has suggested a liberal approach to app-based international calls.
The issue flared up after Airtel and Facebook came out with Airtel Zero and Internet.org, respectively, which were seen to flout neutrality norms. Airtel Zero is an open marketing platform that allows customers to access a variety of mobile applications for free, with data charges being paid by start-ups and large firms.