Net Neutrality 

Date of Publish - Friday, 15th December 2017

Net Neutrality

 It is the 21st century. It is the dawn of the new age where every device is smart and every hand has a smart device in it. In this era of the internet and artificial intelligence,  the earlier predicted things are finally coming true, nothing seems impossible if we can just have a second on google it. But of course, it all cannot be so easy. This new world comes with its own set of rules and terms. One such dubious term is “net neutrality.” We probably come across this once or twice every day in the past few months. Most of us have no clue about what it is but almost everyone knows this to be important.

 So what exactly is net neutrality?

Net neutrality dictates that all ISPs must provide access to all platforms, applications and websites to consumers regardless of the source. Which means that they cannot favour one source over the other and block or slow down access to certain websites etc. You get the bandwidth you opted for when accessing anything and everything on the internet.

 

Net Neutrality has been a pressing issue worldwide since the introduction of data plans often termed as “Zero rating plans” which offer very cheap or free access to certain websites or applications. This came to light in India in 2015 when Airtel introduced one of these plans in alliance with Facebook. The topic has since been debated on and has been the centre of much strife and disagreements. This plan ultimately wound up being banned in early 2016 by TRAI. Since then, TRAI has rooted in net neutrality and put many recommendations forward for the Department of Telecom.

 The recommendations mainly suggest that no ISPs can manipulate access to any sites in favour of others. TRAI explicitly prohibited such activity. The idea of the open internet soon came into question when the regulations regarding net neutrality came out. It was evident how much in favour of net neutrality TRAI was.

 

To make this big a step possible, the recommendations also suggested the formation of a multi-stakeholder committee that would assess and monitor any violations committed by the telecom companies against the rules set by TRAI.

 

Today, the internet is not a luxury but a basic need. In such a world, the open internet becomes all the more important because its existence affects the life or death of small online businesses and organizations. It's existence also keeps ISPs from burning too deep a hole in anyone's pocket when purchasing an internet plan. As the 2015 Facebook incident suggests, there is no room for any negotiation or loopholes when dealing with net neutrality.

 

Net neutrality and the issues related to it, thus, affects all of us in the end. Which is why more people should come to research and support it. The freedom to access all that we wish to depend on this very thing and this is exactly why all of us should care more about the issue.

 

 

 

Author:
Ananya Bhowmic IMIA022

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