“Yes, I demand action on Net Neutrality”
The Department of Telecom; and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
"We won", was the message broadcast far and wide on social media on February 8, 2016. Coming after a charged online campaign under the collective of SavetheInternet.in it made us believe that public victories are possible. On that day, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) made the, "Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016" (“Zero Rating Regulation”). These regulations banned zero rated services such as Free Basics which would have distorted the open and free internet and made internet service providers interfere with our choices for online content.
This victory and India's leadership on this issue has been acknowledged all over the world. This was only possible because of a large collective of volunteers, an engaged online community, the TRAI, the Department of Telecom (DoT) – so many organisations and individuals who all took leadership on this issue. We stress this would not have been possible without action by both the TRAI and the DoT. Here we would specifically like to mention the positive steps taken by the DoT on September 26, 2018 by inserting net neutrality protections in telecom licenses.
Today, India is arguably the world leader on comprehensive net neutrality protections in law that prohibit pricing (zero rating etc.) and technical discrimination (blocking, throttling etc.). We have much to thank for, but we must also now focus on action and enforcement. This is lacking at present.
We ask, what good are net neutrality laws that only exist on paper? There has been little we have seen on any investigations, hearings or steps being taken to make sure that these massive victories on net neutrality are protected with regulatory action. Recently we have also been made aware of several reports in press publications about ISPs blocking and interfering with internet traffic. As per crowd-sourced reports by the Internet Freedom Foundation more than 140 people have made detailed reports from all across India on how several webservices are being blocked. We urge you to take action on these reports and engage with any complaints that are made to you to ensure that net neutrality is protected in India.
I support the take action petition and urge you to kindly consider the demands put by SaveTheInternet.in for the enforcement of net neutrality laws and act on complaints made by them.