Ravi Shankar Prasad says government’s view on net neutrality not finalized

Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday stated that the government has not reached a verdict on the matter of net neutrality yet and is awaiting TRAI’s decision regarding the issue. The communications and information technology minister gave the statement in response to a question asked in the Lok Sabha.

Prasad said the report on net neutrality submitted earlier this month by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was not the final one. He further elaborated on the contents of the report, saying they had technical, regulatory and public policy suggestions concerning the subject. A final assessment by the government would come after TRAI submits its recommendations.

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The authority is currently engaged in a consultation process regarding the matter and will deliver its verdict soon. The Economic Times reports Prasad tried to reassure the parliament that the government was committed to the principles of net neutrality and would endeavor to ensure no discrimination is meted out to any citizen of the country.

He went on to say the BJP administration would make a considered decision on various facets of net neutrality, keeping in mind the best interests of the country. The issue has blown up into a fierce debate across the nation, with even the Congress weighing in on the matter. The party called the report submitted by the DoT anti-consumer and favoring big telecom companies.

Also Read: Competition Commission of India will deliberate on net neutrality after TRAI verdict

According to the panel’s suggestions, over the top (OTT) services like WhatsApp and Skype should function openly and not be regulated. However, they feel free local and national VoIP calls made from such tools should be controlled to allow telecom operators to compete with them on more equal ground. This might result in consumers paying as much as regular calls for them.