The six-member committee comprising Telecom Ministry officials to examine various aspects of Net neutrality will submit its report by the second week of May to help the government take a decision on the contentious issue, Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said.
Although Prasad, who has been a known supporter of the concept of Net neutrality, did not specify the date, sources in the ministry said the committee would submit the report on May 9.
Net neutrality means that governments and internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally — therefore, not charging users, content, platform, site, application or mode of communication differentially.
Since Internet has been created by human beings, the common man should have access to it without any discrimination, the minister told the media.
“The entire process of a committee of experts going into the pros and cons of the issue will benefit the government in making comprehensive decisions. That’s the reason we are doing it independent of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India),” he said.
In March, telecom regulator TRAI released a paper inviting comments from users and companies on how over-the-top services should be regulated in the country. It asked stakeholders to send suggestions by April 24 and counter-arguments need to be submitted by May 8.
The controversy erupted as Bharti Airtel recently launched Airtel Zero, an open marketing platform that will allow customers to access mobile applications at zero data charges.
The US Federal Communications Commission has defended its stand on Net neutrality, with its Commissioner Mignon Clyburn saying, “The rules will ensure that the internet remains the great equaliser of our time.”
Indian telecom operators are keen to charge more for WhatsApp and Youtube.