While Flipkart pulled out of Airtel’s anti net neutrality marketing platform Airtel Zero, more players are joining in the fight to keep India’s internet free, open and equal. In a response to the TRAI’s “Consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for Over-the-Top (OTT) services” (shorter version here) the non profit body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said that internet industry could use lesser regulation, so that tech entrepreneurship and app development were not crippled.
Low barriers help entrepreneurship
In an open house held with telcos, internet company representatives and think tanks, IAMAI stated that in both principal and practice, the internet needed to be free. It added that TRAI needed to recognise this and safeguard it by limiting regulatory interference.
The body stated that regulatory registration or licensing would increase costs, limiting innovation of products and business models while hurting investments in the sector. Low barriers could ensure that entrepreneurs and startups could design and market innovative services which would ultimately benefit Indian consumers.
Internet should be freely accessible to all
Users and subscribers had the right to access any content without connectivity barriers imposed by data carriers through something like fast lanes. It was necessary that access to any content online was not blocked, degraded or discriminated against. Low barriers would also allow telcos to continue availing fair market opportunities and reduce congestion while investing in infrastructure.
IAMAI said that Internet services and platforms including communications service companies were regulated and came under the IT Act and when operating in India, they had to comply with the provisions of the IT Act and international treaties in maintaining logs and records.
Over 6 lakh emails sent to TRAI supporting net neutrality
The TRAI has proposed 20 questions for users’ views on two basic topics: should there be licensing of Internet services, and should there be non-discrimination of Internet access via telecom operators. So far, the TRAI has received over 600,000 emails in favour of net neutrality. India’s comedy group AIB also created a video to propagate support for net neutrality.
Image Credit: Flickr user Lars Plougmann
Disclosure: Readers should bear in mind that MediaNama has always taken a strong pro-Net Neutrality position. Our coverage here. MediaNama founder Nikhil Pahwa is helping create awareness of the issues that might arise from anti Net Neutrality regime.