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Net neutrality concept demystified

Why in news?

What is it?

  • Net Neutrality  is the idea that broadband Internet Service Providers should treat everything that flows across the Internet equally. Since we get the same internet speed for all websites, user should not be charged differentially by content, site, platform, application etc.
  • All data travels on cables with the same priority. Service providers should not be allowed to manipulate the data flowing to their customers. Open net access should be seen as a basic right that all should enjoy.

Advantages ?

  • Creates a level-playing field for all  websites as it will be delivered with same connection speed.
  • Freedom of speech and access to user.
  • No censorship.
  • Service providers cannot change the download or upload transfer rates depending on what people are accessing.
  • Ensures that Internet remains a free and open technology.

Criticism ?

  • Wealthy companies can buy priority access which would deter innovative start up services.
  • Service providers do not want it as they need the ability to charge because without it they will not be able to invest in and update net infrastructure.                                                                                                         Quoting Sunil Mittal “If we have to build the highways, there has got to be a tax on highways”.
  • It puts the government in charge of determining internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered.

Net neutrality in India?

  • Legally, the concept of net neutrality doesn’t exist in India. TRAI promotes it, but no law to enforce it.
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