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Customers were charged separately for P2P services on Andhra-based ISP Bluwifi


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While Airtel might have taken a step back  in rolling out its VoIP data packs for now and forced TRAI into a consultation process for OTTs , a clear violation of net neutrality principles we’ve talked about, a Reddit thread brought to our attention another Internet service provider in Andhra Pradesh which has been charging its customers for additional P2P bandwidth.

Andhra Pradesh-based Bluwifi  in their terms of service say  that they do no support fair usage policy and believes that “Peer2Peer services consume most of the internet traffic. While 30% of the use this service the other 70% pay for this.” Hence they’ve come out with a  provisioning system which allows them to distinguish P2P services and charge them separately.

From their terms of service:

“Peer2Peer Service is sold separately. Meaning a single account can be billed for additional P2P bandwidth. For Example, If you have bought a 2Mbps Internet Service from us, you can buy additional bandwidth for P2P dedicated services, say 512Kbps (or as deep as your pocket allows). So your total bandwidth will be 2.5Mbps but you will be able to browse or web download only for 2Mbps and use Peer2Peer for 512Kbps. We understand that the 30% populus may not thank us but we are sure the rest 70% will.”

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Bluwifi says it has discontinued the charges

Medianama did reach out to Bluwifi on the  phone number on their website and spoke to one of their service engineers who told us that they have now discontinued the separate P2P billing and now just offer plans which follow fair usage policy. We haven’t been able to independently verify this. If you’re a subscriber of Bluwifi, please do get in touch with us and let us know how their billing works now.

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We’ve repeatedly stressed that all data should be treated equally in our net neutrality principles and while we understand that the service provider is looking for better traffic management so that it can provide a better quality of service, that does not mean discriminating against an entire class of communications. P2P connections, for all their infamy in helping piracy and bittorrent applications, is still just a network architecture that partitions workloads between connected users. As NALSAR’s Techlaw Forum rightly points out, P2P connections have uses other than downloading entire seasons of Breaking Bad. Companies such as Skype and Adobe use P2P connections for their services.

Our three Net Neutrality principles:

Rule 1: All sites must be equally accessible: ISPs and telecom operators shouldn’t block certain sites or apps just because they don’t pay them. No gateways should be created, in order to give preferential discovery to one site over another.

Rule 2: All sites must be accessible at the same speed (at an ISP/telco level): This means no speeding up of certain sites because of business deals. More importantly, it means no slowing down (throttling) of some sites.

Rule 3: The cost of access must be the same for all sites (per Kb/Mb or as per data plan): This means no “Zero Rating”. In countries like India, Net Neutrality is more about cost of access than speed of access: all lanes are slow.

Our net neutrality coverage

What Net Neutrality is about: a simple explanation

Net Neutrality in India: That’s what telcos said

What Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say about Internet.org

A new vocabulary for Internet access in India, via #FutureAirtelCharges

Airtel withdraws VoIP charges for now, after forcing TRAI’s hand on net neutrality consultation

Disclosure: Airtel is an advertiser with MediaNama

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  • Abhishek Nayak

    Isn’t providing free access to certain sites also a violation of net neutrality? I see telecom operators not charging for Facebook, Whatsapp or Twitter as a part of their promotions. This to me is another violation of net neutrality.