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Net Neutrality-World Without Internet (A Short Essay)

Net Neutrality-World Without Internet (A Short Essay)
What is Net Neutrality?
Net neutrality is the principle that individuals should be free to access all content and applications equally, regardless of the source, without Internet service providers discriminating against specific online services or websites.  In other words, it is the principle that the company that connects you to the internet does not get to control what you do on the internet.

In other words,
"Net Neutrality is the Internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely On - Line. This is the definition of an open Internet."

Is India alone effected by it?
No. The Federal Communications Commission just recently voted for what is seen as strong Net neutrality rules. This is to ensure Internet service providers neither block, throttle traffic nor give access priority for money. Europe is trying to correct a 2013 proposal for Net neutrality, in which privileged access was allowed to ‘specialised services.’ This was vague and threatened Net neutrality. Chile last year banned zero-rated schemes, those where access to social media is given free to telecom subscribers.
Net Neutrality-World Without Internet (A Short Essay)
Net Neutrality-World Without Internet (A Short Essay)

Let's get back into History:
In May 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a plan that would have allowed companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to discriminate online and create pay-to-play fast lanes.
Millions of you spoke out — and fought back.
Thanks to the huge public and political outcry, Wheeler shelved his original proposal, and on Feb. 4, 2015, he announced that he would base new Net Neutrality rules on Title II of the Communications Act, giving Internet users the strongest protections possible.
The FCC approved Wheeler’s proposal on Feb. 26, 2015. This is a watershed victory for activists who have fought for a decade to protect the open Internet.

What was the FCC’s ‘Open Internet Order’?
The FCC’s 2010 order was intended to prevent broadband Internet service providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on the Web. The Open Internet Order was generally designed to ensure the Internet remained a level playing field for all — that's the principle we call Net Neutrality (we say “generally,” since the FCC’s rules prohibited wired ISPs from blocking and discriminating against content, while allowing wireless ISPs to discriminate against but not block websites).

The main changes for broadband providers were as follows:
  • Broadband access is being reclassified as a telecommunications service, meaning it will be subject to much heavier regulation.
  • Broadband providers cannot block or speed up connections for a fee.
  • Internet providers cannot strike deals with content firms, known as paid prioritisation, for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers.
  • Interconnection deals, where content companies pay broadband providers to connect to their networks, will also be regulated.
  • Firms which feel that unjust fees have been levied can complain to the FCC. Each one will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
  • All of the rules will also apply to mobile providers as well as fixed line providers.
  • The FCC won't apply some sections of the new rules, including price controls.
In its January 2014 ruling, the court said that the FCC used a questionable legal framework to craft the Open Internet Order and lacked the authority to implement and enforce those rules.
Did the court rule against Net Neutrality?
No. The court ruled against the FCC's ability to enforce Net Neutrality under the shaky legal foundation it established for those rules. The court specifically stated that its “task as a reviewing court is not to assess the wisdom of the Open Internet Order regulations, but rather to determine whether the Commission has demonstrated that the regulations fall within the scope of its statutory grant of authority.”
When the FCC made its 2010 open Internet rule, it relied on two decisions the Bush-era FCC made, rulings that weakened the FCC’s authority over broadband Internet access providers. Nothing in the January 2014 court decision prohibited the FCC from reversing those misguided decisions and reclassifying ISPs as common carriers.
In fact, both this decision and a prior Supreme Court decision showed that reclassification would provide the best means of protecting the open Internet.

Recent conditions in India - "Airtel's case"

What is Airtel Zero?
It is an open marketing platform that will allow customers to access mobile applications at zero data charges. Mobile app makers can register with the platform to give customers toll-free access to their apps

Does Airtel Zero affect net neutrality?
While Airtel Zero does not offer better speed for an app over another, it will be beneficial for large companies that can afford to partner the telecom service provider and attract price-sensitive users

What is Airtel’s defence?
Airtel says the offering is open and non-discriminatory in terms of speed or price between players

What do stakeholders say?
Technology start-ups and their investors say they are at a disadvantage in the wake of large firms such as Airtel, Reliance Communications and Facebook coming out with schemes that restrict free internet access to select platforms.
Flipkart pulls out of Airtel Zero 
  • Following popular outrage against net neutrality violations to “internet apartheid”, e­retailer Flipkart pulled out of the controversial Airtel Zero preferential access platform.
  • Flipkart was one of the partners in the Airtel Zero platform which allowed Airtel's subscribers to access select websites and services for “zero data charges”, as long as owners of these websites/services paid Airtel.
  • The telecom department constituted a six-member panel to submit its recommendations regarding the issue by early next month.
 Source:- Bankersadda


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