Net Neutrality promises non-discriminatory treatment of all traffic
on the Internet. Under a net-neutral regime, all Internet traffic—
irrespective of factors such as user identity, content, platform, site,
application, access device, protocol, IP address, language, or mode of
communication—would be handled the same way by Internet service
providers. Internet Society says that Net Neutrality “...is the founding
principle of the Internet and what allows the Internet to be the
largest and most diverse platform for expression in recent history.”
However, some firms, particularly telecom companies and Internet
Service Providers, have long argued that they should be allowed to
operate a tiered service model where they are able to generate revenues
by prioritizing some kinds of traffic (such as by destination, protocol
Proponents of Net Neutrality have, in turn, maintained that letting
telcom companies prioritize traffic would result in a regime that would
allow them to parse traffic contents, stifle user choice, create
gatekeepers, violate the end-to-end principle, and ultimately fragment
the Internet undermining its basic democratic character.
On 26 February 2015, the US Federal Communications Commission, after a
widely-followed hearing, ruled in favor of net neutrality.
In India, there are no laws currently that enforce Net Neutrality. In
December 2014, Airtel announced its plans to charge for VoIP traffic.
The Internet.org initiative of Facebook and Reliance that was announced
in Feb 2015, and the Airtel “Zero” initiative announced in April 2015,
both based on the “zero-rating” concept, violate the principle of Net
Neutrality, and consequently have generated much debate and considerable
consternation within the Internet user community.
On 27 March 2015, TRAI released a consultation paper on the topic for
public comments, and over half a million emails have been reportedly
sent by the public in response. The last date for public response to the
TRAI paper is 24 April 2015.
ICFOSS, jointly with SFLC.IN, ISOC Trivandrum, IEEE Kerala Section,
and Swatantra Malayalam Computing, is organizing a half- day
consultation bringing together a cross-section of stakeholders, to
highlight the issues around Net Neutrality and to stimulate debate and
action. In particular, the consultation will address the concerns of the
grassroots-level Internet user who depends on the Internet for his
personal life, work, as well as recreation today.
In view of limited seats, we request that you confirm your participation in the event by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone to +91 471 2700012 on or before Monday, 20 April 2015.