Report : Government to Intervene on Airtel’s Net Neutrality Violation
Net Neutrality is currently a heated issue amongst the people of India. Recently, Bharti Airtel has received a lot of flak for its contentious “Airtel Zero” plan from social media users. Following the reports of Airtel’s preferential treatment for websites, the government has reportedly decided to intervene and has said that it plans to keep a close watch on the company’s developments.
According to a report by the Times of India, the Department of Telecom (DoT) is looking into the Airtel’s Zero plan to give special privileges to some websites and confined access to the others. A high-rank official stated about the government will take on the Zero plan, “DoT is looking into finer details and whether it goes against the spirit of net neutrality.”
Meanwhile, the Telecomm Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also started an online protest against net neutrality, which has received a tremendous response from users. Last Saturday, government uploaded a consultation paper called “Regulatory Framework for Over-the-Top (OTT) Services” where stakeholders were asked to comment. Within two days, the government received over 1.5 lakh e-mails asking to protect network neutrality in the country. A vast group of people are in support of net neutrality and want Internet to be a free space – where everyone can access anything at the same speed.
The inspection by DoT will be in conjunction with TRAI’s OTT program and will also bring to light Airtel’s previous attempts to assault net neutrality. The national telecom operator tried to induce differential charges for various online services like Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, but received an aggressive backlash resulting it to withdraw the proposed plan.
The source also stated that the government might not take any immediate action against Airtel and will scrutinize the matter initially. Meanwhile, Airtel has denied allegations and said that the Zero plan is “non-discriminatory” and doesn’t give undue preference to any company.
The net neutrality campaign has gained momentum over social media, and people of diverse streams are joining hands to make Internet a free and fair space. Various campaigns are trending on Facebook and Twitter like #SavetheInternet, #NetNeutrality in an attempt to make sure that the internet doesn’t get dragged into a class system.