Internet to remain free and fair in India: Govt approves net neutrality

NEW DELHI, Jul 11: Access to the internet will remain unrestricted and non-discriminatory in India as the government approved principles of net neutrality for the country, warning of stiff penalties for any deviations and violations. Mobile operators, internet providers and social-media companies cannot engage in, or seek, preferential treatment of content and speed on the internet, or create zero-rated platforms, which offer only a certain category of services/websites as free. The only exception to the rule: new and emerging services such as autonomous driving, or telemedicine – something which may require prioritized internet lanes and speeds faster than the normal.
“The inter-ministerial telecom commission, which met on Wednesday, has given a go-ahead to net neutrality in the country. This should come into force almost immediately,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan said after the measure was approved. The move is being seen as progressive as it will not allow any operator, internet service provider or internet giant to create a monopoly on the internet by offering or getting specialized treatment. It will continue to foster the spirit of innovation as start-ups will continue to be treated the same way as any other internet service provider or user.