NEW DELHI — Amid a huge hue and cry in social media over net neutrality, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Monday that a panel examining the issue will submit its report by the second week of May to help the government take a comprehensive decision on the contentious issue.
Net neutrality means that governments and internet service providers should treat all data on the internet equally - therefore, not charging users, content, platform, site, application or mode of communication differentially.
Prasad told media persons here that since internet is created by human beings, the common man should be having access to it without any discrimination.
The entire process of a committee of experts going into the pros and cons of the issue will benefit the government in making comprehensive decisions, he said.
"This is the reason we are doing it independent of TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India)," Prasad added.
The six-member panel, which will conduct the study and submit its report, has been set up the department of telecommunications (DoT).
In March, telecom regulator TRAI released a paper inviting comments from users and companies on how over-the-top services should be regulated in the country. It has asked stakeholders to send suggestions by April 24 and counter-arguments need to be submitted by May 8.
Internet users have raised a lot of hue and cry in the social media regarding protecting net neutrality in the country.
An e-mail campaign has been launched to protect net neutrality through savetheinternet.in website. The home page of the website says: "This page was created as a collection of the best arguments that may be made in favour of net neutrality, in the framework of the TRAI consultation paper.
"The purpose is to assist supporters of strong net neutrality in articulating their own views on the matter in a legally precise manner." The deadline for submission of views is on April 24, 2015.
Bharti Airtel recently launched Airtel Zero, an open marketing platform that will allow customers to access mobile applications at zero data charges.
The US Federal Communications Commission has defended its stand on net neutrality and its commissioner Mignon Clyburn said: "The rules will ensure that the internet remains the great equalizer of our time."