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NET NEUTRALITY --for GD and Essay writing

NET NEUTRALITY

Internet Freedom for Universal Communication

Internet is inherently neutral (more or less). The father of the world wide web (www), Tim BernersLee himself revealed that it was designed as neutral medium. This neutral character of internet comes from the concept of Net Neutrality that is at the centre of it. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee puts it, Net Neutrality at the core means “each” ‘packet’ of data must be treated equally by the network”. He further emphasises that there should be no censorship and the State should not restrict any legal content by the citizens.

Net Neutrality means an Internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should provide us with open networks- and should not block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks.
Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you can call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t be concerned with the content you view or post online. Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application.
Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you can call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t be concerned with the content you view or post online. Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, site, platform, or application.
Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the Internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors content or block political opinions it disagreed with.
The ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment – relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open Internet.

Importance of Net Neutrality
Purely for the sake of innovation on the web, Net Neutrality is imperative. If the fabric of the net was not neutral back in the 90s, then we would’ve existed in a world without the likes of a Google and Facebook. Now, the irony is that some of these big internet companies are in cahoots with telecom operators and are in ways breaking the fabric of the internet.
The principle of net neutrality can be broken in many ways. In the USA, some service providers toyed with the idea of a ‘fast lane’ for certain services.
Even in India, Airtel, decided to charge extra for Internet Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like WhatsApp, but thanks to a timely backlash on social media, it decided against to go ahead with the plan. The basic idea is that every packet of data has to be treated normally – in terms of speed, access and cost for the sake of innovation and long term health of the world wide web, and more importantly to avoid fragmentation.

Importance in Business
Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entreneurs, who rely on the open Internet to launch their business, create a market, advertise their products and services, and distribute products to customers.
We need the open Internet to foster job growth, competition and innovation. Net Neutrality lowers the barriers of entry for entrepreneurs, startups and small business by ensuring the Web is a fair and level playing field.
It is because of Net Neutrality that small business and entrepreneurs have been able to thrive on the Internet. They use the Internet to reach new customers and showcase their goods, applications and services.
No company should be able to interfere with this open marketplace. ISPs are by definition the gatekeepers to the Internet, and without Net Neutrality, they would seize every possible opportunity to profit from the gatekeeper control. Without Net Neutrality, the next Google would never get off the ground.

Importance in Communities
The open Internet allows communities of colour to tell their own stories and to organise for racial and social justice. The mainstream media have failed to allow people of colour to speak for themselves. And thanks to economic inequality and runaway media consolidation, people of colour own just a handful of broadcast stations. The lack of diverse ownership is a primary reason why the media have gotten away with portraying communities of colour stereotypically.
The open Internet gives marginalised voices opportunities to be heard. But without Net Neutrality, ISPs could block unpopular speech and prevent dissident voices from speaking freely online. Without Net Neutrality, people of colour would lose a vital platform.
And without Net Neutrality, millions of small business owned by people of color wouldn’t be able to complete against larger corporations online, which would further deepen the economic inequality in our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

Net Neutrality’s Worldwide Impact
For years, there has been no shortage of talk about Net Neutrality, and the conversation is reaching its climax. The debate over whether the Internet should be an open platform or if it should remain subject to the policies and whims of big companies is one that impacts people across the world.
On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take a vote about Net Nuetrality. Back in 2010, when the United States was just starting to tinker with the idea of net neutrality in the form of a failed FCC proposal, Chile became the first nation to adopt net neutrality as an official policy. The regulations in Chile also cover things like parental control, network security, and virus protection.

India and Net Neutrality :
The Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) released consultation paper in March. 2015 on the regulatory framework for over the top (OTT) services.
The paper includesa key section on her neutrality and whether telecos like Airtel have the right to charge an user for accessing apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber with free-calling services. TRAI, with its pro-corporate tilt, has been rousing a lot of concern on among digital rights champions. Presently, users are not charged any fee by the operators to make calls or send messages using these applications. They just need to pay the regular data charge for Internet browsing.
Communication and Information Technology Minister Ravi Prasad, was lauded by users of social media and digital rights championers for tweeting about forming a committee to looking into the net neutrality debate.

Controversy over the Net Neutrality:
Airtel is in the middle of a controversy over the Net Neutrality in India. The company has
come out with a plan called Airtel Zero, which allows app developers to pay Airtel so that consumers can access the apps part of the Zero plan for free. The move has proponents of net neutrality up in arms, saying that Airtel is trying to break the internet ecosystem in India.
Airtel Zero is a marketing platform aimed at helping companies big and small drive their mobile application’s discoverability, downloads and usage. Developers that sign up for Airtel Zero pick up the data charges of their customers on some parts or all of their applications – in
effect ensuring that these apps are free for customers. Airtel Zero apps will be available only for wireless (2G, 3G, 4G) subscribers.
Heart of the app ecosystem is the wireless network and the Airtel Zero is aimed at strengthening app ecosystem. Flipkart is the first online company in India, which has supported Net Neutrality and discarded its agreement with Airtel Zero after controversies came into light.

Legal Aspects
There are no laws enforcing net neutrality in India. Although TRAI guidelines for the Unified Access Sevice license promotes net neutrality, it does not enforce it. The information Technology Act, 2000 also does not prohibit companies from throtting their service in accordance with their business interests. In India, telecom operators and ISPs offering VoIP services have to pay a part of their revenues to the government.
Ministry of Information & Communication announced about the establishment of a specific committee to discuss about ‘Net Neutrality’ and make a law about it in India.

TRAI Views on Net Neutrality
In the wake of recent debated over regulating of over-the-top players such as Kype, Viber, Whatsapp and GoogleTalk, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), sought views from the industry on the need for regulations for those players, security concerns and net neutrality.
The TRAI was to analyse the implications of the growth of OTTs and consider whether or not changes were required in the current regulatory framework. Presently, users are not charged any fee by the operators to make calls or send messages using these applications.
They just need to pay the regular data charge for Internet browsing. However, telecom operators are of view that the OTT are eating up a part of their revenues without investing in networks.

Conclusion
In the present times, it can be very well said that the Internet is Freedom as it has the tendency to make a person believe that nothing in this world is beyond his/her scope of achieving it. Now the bigger question ahead of us is how, are we free enough? What lies ahead of us is how, as a democracy, we fight for our rights as consumers Life in India today is contradictory.
On one hand we have a visionary government focusing on a ‘Make in India’, and on the other we have telecom and e-commerce giants who envision a competition-free market by scraping net neutrality and trying to have it set-up as a roadblock against new start-ups. The TRAI needs for every citizen to support Net Neutrality. We need to express our views and save the Intern
NET NEUTRALITY --for GD and Essay writing Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 10:15:00 PM Rating: 5

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