Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday clarified that the final report of the committee on Net Neutrality is not the report of the Department of Telecommunications.
He added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA Government is ‘deeply committed’ to a larger goal of availability of internet without any discrimination to the people of India.
“Let me clarify that the present report is not the report of the Department of Telecommunication. It is the report of the committee of the officials of Net Neutrality constituted to give an overview of what is the entire scenario of Net Neutrality and what is the way forward. This report has come in public domain. A copy of the report has also been sent to TRAI,” Prasad told ANI here.
“As I had told in the Parliament, I’ll take a look at the TRAI report and, thereafter, the government will take a considered view. Having said that, let me clarify that the government of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi is deeply committed to a larger goal of availability of internet without any discrimination to the people of India and we also deeply compliment the people of India for the manner in which they have spread the internet in the entire country,” he added.
Prasad further said that the Department of Telecommunication would take a final call after taking a look at the report brought out by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
“As I have said earlier in the Parliament, Internet is one of the finest creations of the human mind and in order to become global it must have uninterrupted link with the local. There is a broad framework we are working upon and yes there are issues of privacy which require consideration, but I’ll take a look at the report of TRAI and, thereafter, the Department of Telecommunication will take a final call,” he said.
A panel of the Department of Telecommunications has recommended to regulate domestic calls made using Internet-based calling applications such as Skype, Whatsapp and Viber at par with phone call services offered by the telecom operators.
The panel has, however, opposed projects like Facebook’s Internet.org, which allow access to certain websites without mobile data charges, while suggesting that similar plans such as Airtel Zero be allowed with prior clearance from TRAI.
Net neutrality implies that equal treatment be accorded to all Internet traffic.