Net neutrality debate triggered by corporate war between a media house and a telecom operator, says TRAI Chief : Report

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mobile-usingAdding a new spark to the net neutrality debate, Telecom Regulatory of India’s Chief Rahul Khullar said that the net neutrality furore is the result of a ‘corporate war’ between a media house and a telecom operator reports Indian Express. Although he didn't mention the names of the media house or the telecom operator, he called it is ‘confounding an already difficult matter’.

“There are many others in between, that one should not ignore despite the passionate nature of the debate between the two extremes. We need a democratic debate on the issue, not shrill voices”, Khullar was quoted saying to a popular newspaper.

Meanwhile, the public outrage against zero-rated plans is growing stronger. The website revealed that around 600990 mails had been sent to TRAI asking to keep internet free. Clubbed from the mails from other sources TRAI has received a whopping total of eight lakh petitions in support of net neutrality. People have time till April 24th to file their petition, for which the TRAI will revert its comments by May 8. There are also chances for the regulartor to hold an open house debate on the issue.

Interestingly, TRAI has also released another discussion paper that suggests free internet-based calls and messaging services to become a threat for individual and national security.

“Most applications can trace the user’s location for underlying processes (such as GPS apps finding the nearest restaurants). This information may be used to commit a crime, or the location itself may be the target of a crime. Such threats can impact the nation’s security and financial health,” TRAI paper says.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continue to urge his ‘something is better than nothing’ theory. “For people who are not on the Internet though, having some connectivity and some ability to share is always much better than having no ability to connect and share at all. That’s why programmes like are important and can co-exist with Net neutrality regulations,” he said.

On the other hand, Airtel sees this as an issue of misinformation. “In the end, the debate over the past few days has brought out one thing clearly – a large number of people are still not clear on what Net Neutrality is all about. This gives an opportunity to the so called experts to make various as well as baseless arguments”, it said.

Nevertheless, the debates for net neutrality hold its outcry with more people like Mr. Manav Sethi, Group CMO, Askme speaking for net neutrality. "Internet is an essential service and should be provided without any discrimination, zero rating platforms can seriously affect the freedom and growth of the billions of entrepreneurs, quite against the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ vision of our government. Any violation of internet neutrality can have a serious bearing on effective and fair competition in the market place. We feel it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure a level playing field for home grown entrepreneurs and at the same time protect the interests of netizens.", he said.

Recently, NDTV, Cleartrip and Times Group announced their support to net neutrality by withdrawing from Flipkart too backed out from its plan to associate with Airtel Zero.

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