Parliament panel to discuss net neutrality issue today

New Delhi:  A Parliamentary Committee will discuss the controversial issue of net neutrality on Thursday at a meeting where officials of telecom companies are expected to present their views.

The Standing Committee of Parliament will examine the issue over which there has been an uproar for some time, with even MPs voicing concern in Parliament during the just-concluded Budget session.

During the meeting, telecom company officials are expected to make their views known on the issue that triggered a row after a consultation paper floated by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last month suggested that net neutrality could end, sources said.

All parties including ruling BJP and its ally Shiv Sena had voiced their concerns on the matter following a Calling Attention Motion by Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien in Rajya Sabha.

When contacted on Wednesday about Thursday’s meeting, O’Brien said, “I am glad that Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari allowed Calling Attention Motion on it (earlier this month). And I am glad that the matter has gone to the next stage.”

He said he hopes that the government sees sense and does not consider the TRAI consultation paper.

The government, while insisting that no decision has been taken on the TRAI consultation paper, has promised to ensure “non-discriminatory access to internet” to all citizens.

“Government stands for ensuring non-discriminatory access to internet for all citizens of the country…. It is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality, keeping the internet accessible and available to all without discrimination,” IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said in Parliament.

“Connectivity to internet must go in an unhindered manner…. I assure the House that the key principles of net neutrality will be followed while following concerns with a national outlook,” he had said while replying to the Calling Attention Motion in Rajya Sabha.


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