What is net neutrality? Discuss the merits and demerits of net neutrality in light of TRAI’s recent recommendations.

 What is net neutrality? Discuss the merits and demerits of net neutrality in light of TRAI’s recent recommendations.

Approach

  • Introduce with Net Neutrality
  • Discuss why it is important
  • Make arguments on why net neutrality is not needed
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Net neutrality is the principle that supports treatment of all data on the Internet equally. It means a service provider should allow equal access to all content and applications regardless of the source.

Net Neutrality: Need of the hour

  • Net Neutrality will preserve the internet architecture that has enabled the fast and innovative development so far.
  • Without net neutrality, the Internet will look like cable TV in which few big companies will control the medium.
  • Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs, who rely on the open Internet to launch their businesses.Twitter, Wats app etc. would not have gained the current popularity, had they been discriminated in their initial phase.
  • The internet has become a global heritage of mankind and it would be ethical to adhere to the principles of net neutrality.
  • Today freedom of speech and expression also includes right to seek, receive and impart information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. Without net neutrality, a service provider could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. This would be against the idea of free speech.

Arguments against net neutrality

  • Traffic management is inevitable, and neutrality has never existed.
  • Without net neutrality restrictions in commercial agreements with content and service providers, telecome operators will be able to raise funds which would make them more interested in investing in infrastructure.
  • This will encourage new services and innovations along with guaranteed quality of service.
  • The open market is based on choice, and users can always change their Internet provider if not satisfied.
  • Any form of government regulation will be against the idea of free market and it may have repercussions on its growth and creativity.

Conclusion:

The debate on net neutrality is primarily about what kind of Internet can nurture a fair society. Concerns regarding digital equality, individual rights, business interests of smaller players, national economic interests etc. are hidden across the layers of the Internet eco-system. Hence, net neutrality is the need for India as suggested by TRAI and a Committee headed by A K Bhargava.

Subjects : Current Affairs

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