India: Demand for net neutrality roils, campaign reaches crescendo

 

Save_The_Internet_India_Photo_Credit_TechnotrapsIndia’s internet users have sent nearly 900,000 emails asking the country’s telecom regulator to safeguard internet neutrality. The campaign is in response to Telecom Authority of India (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… Airtel launched Airtel Zero, a platform where companies that pay can have users browse their sites or use their apps for zero data charges and was widely slammed as an assault on net neutrality…Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer, which reportedly was looking to sign up for Airtel Zero, backtracked after facing serious flak online. NDTV, Times Internet & Cleartrip withdrew from Facebook's Internet.org for violating the principles of net neutrality. 

 

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Article
21 April 2015

Tech startups write letter to PM Modi asking him to save the Internet

Author: Firstpost

...[T]...he team at savetheinternet.in, with its several members from startups, have drafted an open letter to PM Narendra Modi. The team is urging everyone who is a part of India’s startup ecosystem to sign the letter, asking TRAI to preserve the open, competitive internet by enforcing net neutrality...“We dream that an Indian startup may one day become the next Google, Facebook or Amazon. We know that you share our dream. We share another dream with you, the dream of a Digital India. We dream of this as Indians, and also as businesses that wish to serve a fast-growing Indian internet market. These dreams cannot be achieved without the open Internet,” the letter says.

 

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Article
19 April 2015

Timeline: Airtel Zero to Internet.org, what sparked the current net neutrality debate in India

Over the last couple of weeks, the net neutrality debate has picked up pace thanks to the deadline for the user responses on the TRAI consultation paper as well as a campaign floated by Airtel, called Airtel Zero which will let app developers pay data charges of customers, so long as they are using the developer’s app. Here’s a timeline of events. 

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Article
14 April 2015

10 guiding principles on net neutrality in India

Author: Pavan Duggal, Economic Times

We need the Internet to further contribute to the growth of human mankind in society and not leading to divisions within society...Internet needs to be protected as Internet is the common paradigm platform which allows the hosting of creative, innovative approaches of communication, dissemination and transmission of thought processes as also data and information in the electronic form whether in the form of audio, video, image or text...Initiatives violating Net neutrality should not create an ecosystem of digital haves and digital have-nots, where the digital haves, by might of their money power can access better quality of services on the Internet at the expense of the digital have-nots, who stand disenfranchised by differential payments for various services and schemes....The complicated legal, policy and regulatory issues concerning net neutrality need to be examined in great detail, more so given the fact that the Information Technology Act, 2000 and rules and regulations made thereunder are completely silent on the issue of net neutrality...Net Neutrality, if not handled properly, could prejudicially impact the Digital India Programme of the Indian Government. 

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Article
14 April 2015

Cleartrip backs net neutrality, exits Facebook’s Internet.org

Author: Ravi Sharma, Times of India

A day after Flipkart cleared its stance on net neutrality by stepping away from the controversial Airtel Zero plan, travel website Cleartrip has also backed the neutral net by exiting Facebook's Internet.org programme...In response of Net Neutrality India's questions on why it was violating net neutrality principles by being part of Internet.org initiative, Cleartrip said...We believe that the Internet is a great leveller and that freedom of the Internet is critical for innovation. Cleartrip is and always will be a fully committed supporter of #NetNeutrality."

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Article
14 April 2015

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says his new platform can co-exist with net neutrality

Author: Indo Asian News Service

Joining the debate over unfettered Net access, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said Internet.org — a platform that offers free access to data and customers and with Reliance Communications as its India partner — can co-exist with net neutrality...Mr. Zuckerberg’s comment come at a time when there is a raging debate in India over the issue of net neutrality, with the watchdog, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, calling for comments from all stakeholders, before submitting its recommendations to the government. 

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Article
14 April 2015

Statement from Airtel

Author: Airtel

Airtel fully supports the concept of Net Neutrality. There have been some misconceptions about our toll free data platform - Airtel Zero. It is a not a tariff proposition but is an open marketing platform that...Allows any application or content provider to offer their service on a toll free basis to their customers who are on our network....Such customers whether on a data pack or not will therefore be able to access these toll free services free of charge.../No site whether on the toll free platform or not under any circumstances is blocked, throttled or provided any form of preferential access...The toll free platform is open to all content providers on a completely non discriminatory basis and operates on the same principle as 1-800 toll free voice services.

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Article
14 April 2015

Times Internet & NDTV pull out of Facebook's Internet.org to support net neutrality

Author: Jayadevan PK, Economic Times

Times Internet Limited has committed to pull out of Facebook's Internet.org initiative which makes apps on the platform free of data charges to users and pledged its support to net neutrality in the country...The Times of India (publication), will withdraw from Internet.org if its direct competitors - India Today, NDTV, IBNLive, NewsHunt, and BBC - also pull out, it said...Delhi-based television network NDTV also said that it will pull out of Internet.org.

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Article
14 April 2015

India's comedy group explains net neutrality

Author: All India Bakchod

All India Bakchod looks little afraid of the telecom companies and Trai, as corruption in India is not a new issue and fighting against it have only one way to protest, so Net Neutrality campaign turns heat in India and all social media channels are protesting to save the Internet. Being one of the most influential social media network, AIB roars to save the internet explaining how everyone is together to piss off the consumers.

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Article
13 April 2015

Why "Save the Internet" is trending in India

Author: British Broadcasting Corporation

India's biggest online retailers are now starting to respond to the anger of hundreds of thousands of Indians who have emailed the government in the past 72 hours, in defence of their right to access all websites equally...It all started with a sketch being posted on YouTube, which as well as being funny was also video is a staunch defence of the idea of net neutrality...The result? More than 1.5m views in three days, the hashtag #savetheinternet hitting the list of Twitter's top trends and a flood of emails to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)...Crucially, the video includes a link to a website, savetheinternet.in, which gives users an easy way to email TRAI with a contribution to the consultation - and the people behind the campaign estimate that at least 200,000 emails have been sent.

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Article
13 April 2015

Flipkart is talking sense; Time to rethink Airtel Zero & back net neutrality

Author: Jayadevan PK, Economic Times

After defending their stance to join Airtel's net neutrality violating Airtel Zero, Flipkart finally did the right thing. They walked away from the discussion to be part of the platform...there have been intense debates at the ecommerce company. On one hand, it made business sense to zero rate its app to reach more customers. On the other, it meant breaking network neutrality. The outcome of the debate tells us that Flipkart hasn't turned deaf to feedback and is open to correct its very public stand...Public pressure as well as pressure from proponents of Flipkart within the company seem to have won over an apparently cold business decision by Flipkart to zero rate their app.

 

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