Given the contributions of both sides \u2013 telcos have built expensive data networks while OTT players are driving a lot more data to their websites \u2013 it is not surprising the debate on net neutrality has been so acrimonious. Telcos are seeing their businesses being eaten away \u2013 Trai\u2019s consultation paper says telcos earn 40 paise from a 1-minute call versus 4 paise from a 1-minute VoIP call \u2013 and don\u2019t want to build new networks under the circumstances. OTT players, on the other hand, are convinced they drive traffic, so telcos profit from them being around. The reality is that absolutism \u2013 or the purest form of net neutrality the twitterati is espousing \u2013 just isn\u2019t practical, and will render useless the ability of new technologies (3G\/4G) to deliver services in the internet space. A good example is 2G voice traffic versus that on 3G or 4G networks where the bulk of data traffic will move in future. If you make a voice call on a 2G network, since there is a separate pipe through which the traffic flows, voice transmission is instantaneous with no loss in fidelity. In the case of 3\/4G networks, since there is just one pipe through which data travels, the network needs to tell the pipe how to prioritize the data. If a voice call on a 3\/4G network, or IPTV for instance, is not prioritized \u2013 and that is what the pure net neutrality group is asking for \u2013 the call will be patchy. The only way to let voice calls work on such networks \u2013 the same applies to WhatsApp voice calls which the net neutrality camp swears by \u2013 is to relax the definition a bit, to allow telcos to prioritize the data. That is, allow \u2018fast lanes\u2019 for voice, instead of just letting the traffic voice packets move on what is called a \u2018best efforts\u2019 basis, to use net neutrality jargon. All 3G and 4G conventional voice packets are currently prioritized even today. As Trai points out, in the UK, such preferential treatment is allowed for ISPs in the form of \u2018tiered services\u2019 or \u2018toll-boothing\u2019. This is what Bharti Airtel was trying to offer some months ago \u2013 a higher-cost data plan that allowed voice-quality VoIP services \u2013 but had to withdraw in the face of severe opposition. According to this model of relaxed net neutrality, you will have differently-priced data packs, cheaper ones for those who want plain vanilla surfing and more expensive ones for those who want videos and other such services. But what if this results in \u2018throttling\u2019, or speeds on the rest of the internet coming down considerably? What Trai suggests is to have minimum quality standards for various packages. This will require operators to increase their data network capacity, by deploying more 3G\/4G networks (spectrum is a big constraint since more than half of it is unsuitable for 3\/4G). This still leaves various others issues like whether interception of calls \u2013 this is requirement by law in India \u2013 is to be done by OTT players or the telcos and whether OTTs should be licensed; Skype has been asked to register as a telco in France. While the debate on this will continue to remain heated, unless some middle ground is found, telcos are not going to be in a position to fund further rollout of networks \u2013 though the amounts being spent by it are very small in comparison to the telcos, the raison d\u2019etre of Facebook\u2019s internet.org is to build stripped-down sites which lower the demand for broadband capacity. The net neutrality debate will continuously evolve, but one thing is for sure, and that is that absolutism isn\u2019t going to work.