Rajeev Chandrasekhar backs net neutrality, recalls 2015 stand against telcos


In a recent Twitter post, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a member of the Rajya Sabha, remembered the tough fight for net neutrality in India. He talked about how he and many others gathered support from over 5 lakh Indians to stop telecom companies from controlling the internet and charging people twice for it This struggle, which began during the UPA government's tenure and peaked in 2015/2016, aimed to preserve the principles of net neutrality.

During that period, a contentious debate over net neutrality arose concerning Facebook's Free Basics program. This led to the launch of the "Save the Internet" signature campaign, where hundreds of thousands of citizens wrote to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to request the preservation of net neutrality. In 2016, TRAI reaffirmed these principles, reinforcing the importance of treating all online traffic equally without discrimination or favoritism.

Chandrasekhar acknowledged the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision in making India one of the first countries globally to ensure net neutrality and resist telecom companies' aspirations to control Internet access. He credited this decision by the Prime Minister as a crucial factor in fostering India's status as a leading innovation economy, with a thriving startup ecosystem adhering to global standards.

Net neutrality is a fundamental concept that demands Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom companies to treat all online data equally, refraining from any discriminatory practices or bias toward specific websites, applications, or online services. The preservation of net neutrality is viewed as essential to protect consumers' freedom of choice and maintain innovation in India's Internet sector.Reported by moneycontrol

Leading voices in India's startup ecosystem have also emphasized the significance of net neutrality. Sameer Nigam, CEO of PhonePe, stressed that it is crucial for safeguarding consumer freedom and promoting innovation. Nigam warned that allowing telecom companies to charge Internet companies based on their app's popularity could further tilt the Indian Internet market in favor of larger, well-funded tech platforms. - reported by moneycontrol

In a letter addressed to TRAI chairman PD Vaghela, 129 startup founders urged the regulatory authority to strengthen the principles outlined in the 2016 regulations rather than diluting them. This collective effort underscores the continuing importance of preserving net neutrality in India's rapidly evolving digital landscape.

As India's digital ecosystem continues to expand and evolve, the principles of net neutrality remain a cornerstone for ensuring a level playing field and fostering innovation, which is crucial for the growth and competitiveness of the country's startup ecosystem.



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