Net neutrality in India

Net neutrality in India

Net neutrality in India

#GS3 #Economy #Science and tech

  • Net neutrality is the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination or favoritism based on content, website, platform, or user. In India, the debate on net neutrality began in 2014 and culminated in the introduction of net neutrality rules by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2018.


  • The three largest telecom providers in India, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Reliance Jio, have demanded that websites like YouTube and WhatsApp pay a portion of revenue as network expenses. The discussion of Net neutrality has been reopened as a result.

Points to ponder:

  • TRAI Regulations: In November 2017, the TRAI released regulations that prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating against any content or services based on content, price, or speed. The regulations also prohibit ISPs from entering into agreements with content providers to provide preferential treatment to their content.
  • Zero-Rating Services: The TRAI regulations also prohibited zero-rating services, where certain apps or websites are provided for free or at reduced prices by an ISP. This is seen as a violation of net neutrality principles, as it gives preferential treatment to certain services and may limit access to other services.
  • Debate and Criticism: The debate on net neutrality in India was marked by a high level of public engagement, with many individuals and organizations expressing their views on the issue. Some critics argued that the TRAI regulations did not go far enough, as they did not address issues such as throttling or blocking of content by ISPs.
  • Enforcement: The TRAI regulations on net neutrality are enforced by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). In 2019, the DoT issued a notice to ISPs asking them to comply with the net neutrality rules or face penalties.
  • Future of Net Neutrality: The future of net neutrality in India remains uncertain, as some telecom operators and content providers continue to lobby for changes to the rules. However, the TRAI regulations have been widely hailed as a positive step towards protecting the open nature of the internet in India.

Way Forward

  • The government could lower spectrum fees and provide funds for universal service obligations to help telecommunications firms. (USOF)
  • Telecom operators and online platforms can support each other in setting up as neither can exist without the other.