Net neutrality (also network neutrality, Internet neutrality, or net equality) is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.
Net neutrality is not a technical principle. Neither is it about a free market. Internet’s initial architecture was built on the principle that the carrier pipe will be completely dumb, with no capacity to discriminate among the bytes passing over it. All intelligence was at the periphery—in the end devices which collated the bytes into intelligible patterns. Now intelligence has been built into the network, which is able to discriminate between bytes for many purposes, especially for traffic management, to ensure good internet experience for all users. As long as such discrimination is not done for commercial considerations, whether to favour an ISP’s own offerings, or that of their commercial partners, it is not considered a violation of net neutrality. The term is today used primarily in the meaning of a regulatory intervention.
- there are no laws in India governing net neutrality.TRAI guidelines for the Unified Access Service license promotes net neutrality, it does not enforce it. The Information Technology Act, 2000 also does not prohibit companies from throttling their service in accordance with their business interests.Real net neutrality is therefore difficult to defend in the name of the free market and consumer choice alone.
- In India, telecom operators and ISPs offering VoIP services have to pay a part of their revenues to the government.
- Facebook and Google have got into agreements with internet service providers (ISPs) to make available their services free of data charges.
- This tilts the playing field against competing services, including those provided by start-ups or by non-profit organisations who cannot afford to pay the ISPs to make their services similarly available with no data charges.
- Facebook has pulled together different kinds of services called the Internet.org which is being provided free of data charges.
- Airtel, a mobile telephony service provider in India, announced in December 2014 to charge additional rates for making voice calls (VoIP) from its network using apps like WhatsApp, Skype, etc
- throttling BitTorrent traffic
- Airtel's India operations, said that companies offering free messaging apps like Skype, Line and Whatsapp should be regulated similar to telecom operators
- Facebook launched Internet.org in India with Reliance Communications. It aims to provide free access to 38 websites through an app. Only Bing was made available as the search engine. Sunil Mittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, criticised the concept
- Airtel announced the "Airtel Zero" scheme. Under the scheme, app firms sign a contract and Airtel provides the apps for free to its customers.