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Rahul accuses Centre of trying to give away Net space to corporates

April22/ 2015

New Delhi,April 22: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday raised the Net neutrality issue in the in Lok Sabha, accusing the Centre of trying to give away Internet space to corporates.

Raising the issue of Net neutrality, Mr. Gandhi on Wednesday sought suspension of Question Hour in the Lok Sabha and gave a notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the matter immediately.

An adjournment motion involves an element of censure against the government. However, it is up to the Speaker whether to allow the motion.

A strong plea was made on Tuesday in the Lower House for ensuring Net neutrality with demands that the recent consultation paper brought out by TRAI should be scrapped and attempts by certain telecom and internet service providers be scuttled.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, M.B. Rajesh (CPI(M)) had alleged that the TRAI consultation paper was “blatantly supporting” assault on Net neutrality by telecom and internet service providers.

Several opposition members wanted to have their say on the issue.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had said a notice should be given for a half-an-hour discussion and she would allow it.

Here’s all you need to know about net neutrality:

Net neutrality is a principle that says Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all traffic and content on their networks equally.

How does net neutrality affect you?

The internet is now a level-playing field. Anybody can start up a website, stream music or use social media with the same amount of data that they have purchased with a particular ISP. But in the absence of neutrality, your ISP might favour certain websites over others for which you might have to pay extra. Website A might load at a faster speed than Website B because your ISP has a deal with Website A that Website B cannot afford. It’s like your electricity company charging you extra for using the washing machine, television and microwave oven above and beyond what you are already paying.

Why now?

Late last month, Trai released a draft consultation paper seeking views from the industry and the general public on the need for regulations for over-the-top (OTT) players such as Whatsapp, Skype, Viber etc, security concerns and net neutrality. The objective of this consultation paper, the regulator said, was to analyse the implications of the growth of OTTs and consider whether or not changes were required in the current regulatory framework.

What is an OTT?

OTT or over-the-top refers to applications and services which are accessible over the internet and ride on operators’ networks offering internet access services. The best known examples of OTT are Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, e-commerce sites, Ola, Facebook messenger. The OTTs are not bound by any regulations. The Trai is of the view that the lack of regulations poses a threat to security and there’s a need for government’s intervention to ensure a level playing field in terms of regulatory compliance.

Tags: #NetNeutrality, , #RGforNetNeutrality
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