Net Neutrality in India – what will happen?

Now that ‘Net Neutrality’ or ‘NN’ is on everyone’s mind and it is creating a flurry of outbursts and supporters, this post aims to provide a brief overview of what is meant by net neutrality and what will happen if it is not enforced. The term ‘Net Neutrality’ itself was created by Tim Wu, a Columbia University professor in 2003(who wouldn’t have dreamt that it would be the point of high interest worldwide!)


The whole debate on net neutrality began in earnest in India when one of the big   telecom companies decided to charge more for consumers using Skype and Viber. This caused a furor due to which the telecom provider decided to wait for TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) on its decision. TRAI has released a questionnaire to the public with 20 questions that seeks to end the debate by 24th April 2015. The questionnaire in short asks the public if telecom providers need regulation and what type of regulation should be enacted. (Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services / Internet services and Net Neutrality)

After the ‘net neutrality’ debate in the US and Europe, India is now plunged in the ‘net neutrality’ discussion since the past month. In a nut shell, ‘Net Neutrality’ is the term that is used to define that all data on the net is equal and no data can be considered superior or inferior. The concept further states that the ISPs or telecom providers should leave the Internet untouched the way it is without enforcing special pricing rules.

The real war:

It is a known fact that Skype, Whatsapp, Viber and other websites and applications have bettered our life by reducing our long distance charges to zero. These services have been named as ‘Over the Top services’ (OTT) and the telecom providers would like to regulate them because it is felt that the OTTs are “piggbacking” on them unfairly.


Requirements of ‘Net neutrality’:

  1. All data is equal. Hence, the ISPs or telecom providers should not speed up certain websites or slow down certain other sites (“no throttling”)
  2. None of the websites should be blocked. If a customer determines that he would like to view a webpage, he/she should be able to do it and the ISP should NOT block it.
  3. There should be no “slow traffic” on the Internet because a particular website did not “pay” for the fast traffic.
  4. Consumers should not have to pay extra for viewing certain websites. The ISPs should not separate the Internet into several Internets.
  5. There should be free and open communication between any two endpoints.(What Net Neutrality is about: a simple explanation, 2014)


All these requirements if not allowed will stifle fledgling organizations that are seeking to start their business and all of us who browse the net without any restrictions.  For – let’s face it, most of our businesses have been raised by the Internet and have survived because of the open Internet and paying at every nook and corner for special websites would definitely dampen an organization’s success.


US Net Neutrality:

The ‘Net Neutrality’ war has been won in the US and on 26th February 2015, the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) has declared that the ISPs cannot block traffic or separate into fast and slow lanes. The FCC stated that “Today, the Commission — once and for all — enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open Internet today and into the future.”

It will next be India’s turn to decide on the net neutrality debate – what will it be?


Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services / Internet services and Net Neutrality. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2015, from
What Net Neutrality is about: a simple explanation. (2014, November 12). Retrieved from

About Pavan Gumaste

Pavan Rao is a programmer / Developer by Profession and Cloud Computing Professional by choice with in-depth knowledge in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform. He helps the organisation figure out what to build, ensure successful delivery, and incorporate user learning to improve the strategy and product further.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top