Internet’s Independence Day: Comment on MyGov for #NetNeutrality

Update: Govt extends deadline for filing responses on DOT net neutrality report to 20th August 5 pm. Nearly 50000 responses filed at the time of this update. We have 5 more days to comment. Some sample comments below. The process:

  1. Register on the MyGov.in website
  2. Sign into MyGov.in
  3. Visit the net neutrality page and submit a response.

Original post: In April, you spoke out in support of an open internet.  Now Mozilla India policy and advocacy task force is calling out for all Internet users again to make our voices heard again on the Net Neutrality debate in India.

Despite our 1 million+ emails raised as a part of save the internet campaign, the Department of Telecommunications released a draft report with recommendations which appear to favour the creation of a license raj for Internet voice calls and other communication services in India, and can allow telecom operators to create private walled gardens using Zero Rating. AIB has made a new video explaining why: Watch it here

Please submit a response opposing this proposal, before the deadline for comments on our Independence Day this year. To do this,

  1. Register on the MyGov.in website
  2. Sign into MyGov.in
  3. Visit the net neutrality page and submit a response.

Please see sample points below that you may use. You may submit each paragraph as a different post on MyGov.

Text #1

Government must act now

The DoT Report noted that a free and open Internet, available to all Indian citizens, is key to our country’s future. Despite that, telcos are already violating net neutrality and endangering that future. The Govt should pass regulation immediately to protect net neutrality in India – the status quo of mere promises is not enough. The Govt must commit to protecting net neutrality in law in India. Don’t take 5 years to decide this.

Explanation regarding government process: While the regulatory process is being drawn out, telcos are already violating net neutrality in various ways. Our government must put an end to this.

Text #2

Net Neutrality means access to EVERYTHING without discrimination

Don’t allow telecom operators to change the definition of Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality means access to EVERYTHING on the Internet, without discrimination. Not access to everyone. We want everyone to get access, but to all of the Internet. Don’t allow creation of private walled gardens.

Text #3

Don’t allow Zero Rating

Zero rating allows large companies to act as gatekeepers of the Internet, and control which services Indians can access, must be prohibited. The DoT draft recommendations are too weak on this, and the Govt must take a strong stand to protect users.

Text #4

Don’t allow Zero Rating, not even on a case-by-case basis

Zero rating will encroach upon the bandwidth meant for the open Internet, decreasing its speed and increasing its price. The Govt should ensure that licensed spectrum is exclusively used to give open internet access to consumers, and not to sell consumers to big internet companies. There should be a complete ban on zero rating, not case-by-case approval.

Text #5

Don’t allow Zero Rating

Zero rating will enable well-funded Internet companies to purchase captive user bases, killing off smaller competitors and then increasing prices to recover the cost. It will decrease choice and harm consumers not only on the zero rating plans but also on the open Internet. The Govt should prohibit zero rating completely instead of giving approval on a case-by-case basis.

Text #6

Don’t allow Zero Rating, not even on a case-by-case basis

Case-by-case approval of zero rating, as proposed in the report, is an invitation to lobbying and corruption. The government should make objective, unambiguous rules, not leave complex decisions affecting crores in profits to some corruptible bureaucrats. Remember that this is an industry that has already demonstrated that it has no qualms about paying huge bribes at the highest levels of government.

Explanation regarding Zero Rating: Zero rating is telcos’ plan to split the Internet into two — the real one where telcos sell Internet access to consumers, and a “zero internet” where they sell consumers to big Internet companies. On these plans, all websites and apps except a handful will be blocked. This split damages the real Internet and affects everyone — not just those on zero plans.

Text #7

Scrap the proposal to license VoIP apps

There should be no license-permit raj for the web. The Govt must not adopt regressive measures such as forcing licenses for Internet communication services or mobile apps. The proposal to license VoIP is completely against the consumer interest — it will decrease choice, increase prices and stifle innovation.

Text #8

No licensing of VoIP

The term “Regulatory Arbitrage” cannot hide the fact that DoT’s objective with VoIP licensing is to decrease choice and increase prices for consumers, in order to help certain telcos. It is very worrying that a government body, which is supposed to uphold consumer interest above all else, chooses instead to go against it.

Text #9

We don’t want licensing of VoIP

The proposal to license domestic VoIP will prevent Indian startups from creating a wide range of communication, collaboration, gaming and social networking services that include voice, while startups everywhere else will continue to do so. This new license-permit raj will damage our country’s knowledge economy, just as the old one suffocated our industries.

Explanation regarding VoIP: VoIP refers to apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Viber etc. that carry voice over the Internet, allowing us to call people for free. DoT wants to charge them license fees — which the apps will pass on to us — to make them as costly as phone calls.

Act now!

Please do this on this Independence Day.

  1. Register on the MyGov.in website
  2. Sign into MyGov.in
  3. Visit the net neutrality page and submit a response.

Forward this to your friends and family. Tweet it, facebook it, share the AIB video. Get more people involved. It’ll take all of us to win this.

Follow updates from Mozilla India Policy and Advocacy Task Force  at https://twitter.com/Mozinadvocacy

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  1. Orion wrote on :

    Done!

    Reply

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