Net neutrality: INIEWA serves legal notice on telecom dept

INIEWA, Indian Netizens and Internet Entrepreneurs Welfare Association, a non-profit association of internet users, entrepreneurs and companies, has served a legal notice on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

Indian telecom service provider Bharti Airtel faced severe criticism from the Indian internet users for supporting select companies and acting against the interest of majority of Internet companies. Later Airtel and COAI, the telecom industry association, clarified that they support net neutrality in India.

INIEWA, which has more than 10,000 members, said India’s first legal proceeding against the DoT and telecom ministry is for not banning the telecom companies and Internet service providers from rolling out zero-rated plans in India.

Varun Bajaj, founding president, INIEWA, said: “It is surprising that DoT till date is not performing both its legal and statutory obligation of enforcing its license conditions against the TSPs to prohibit the TSPs to operate the Zero-Rated Plans in India and or penalise or cancel the license of the TSPs on account of violating the DoT license conditions.”

Varun Bajaj of INIEWA
The association said that telecoms are obligated to provide unrestricted access to all the content available on the Internet as part of the license conditions under the license issued by DoT to TSPs.

INIEWA has legally contested that these Zero-Rated plans launched or operating in India by the TSPs are in violation of the license condition issued itself by the DoT to the TSPs because the Zero-Rated Plans are only designed to give restrictive or limited access to the end consumers for a select few portals or apps.

INIEWA has sought DoT to pass and enforce appropriate orders against TSPs within a period of 10 days from today imposing an absolute prohibition of operation of any form of ZeroRated Plans being currently operated by the TSPs in India.

Baburajan K
[email protected]