On 17-Jul-2015, we received the newspapers with headlines “You will pay for Skype and Whatsapp etc”, a very depressing and disturbing news.
By sheer coincidence, I was moderating a conference organized by The Indian Lawyers Foundation in India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road Delhi on “Net Neutrality” on that very day. 25 leading lawyers, law firms, Corporate Legal Heads, and content providers participated in this seminar. Dr Tarun Vijay the BJP member RS chaired the meeting.
Answering the questions that I as moderator asked him, he tried to convince us, I mean all those present, that the government will not take any stand that jeopardizes the consumer’s interest. I cautioned him about the possibility of turning and twisting the technical definitions of the terms like carrier, information, broadband etc towards a legal domain that defines the controls and regulations.
After return, going deeper into the issue of Facebook’s Internet org and the Zero Rating by its partner the Airtel, I reread the comments of DOT, which were published in the newspapers. DoT is the third tier of organization dealing with this aspect. Technically, and generally, they object to free phone calls made on Skype and Whatsapp, but have so far not shown any concern about the SMS on Whatsapp, Facebook, Google etc.
However, theirs is only one technical opinion and it is good that their opinion is not tainted by lobbying. The second tier ie TRAI will intervene and give its own recommendations then the regulation or the law will be made. I recommended the use of competition law to be followed rather than a new law, and I coined the term Net Partiality, that the audience liked. For the time being no worries … therefore