New Delhi(web team): The Opposition was surprised on Thursday, to find BJP veteran LK Advani on their side at a parliamentary standing meeting committee on net neutrality.
As per a Hindustan Times report, Advani supported the Opposition in asking the meeting to be called off even though service providers Airtel, Vodafone and Idea were invited to present their stand on the controversial net neutrality issue.
The Opposition claimed that the telecom operators provided them with a 120-page background note only an evening before the meeting, leaving them no time to go through the whole copy.
But the panel on information technology headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur and Sunil Gaikwad reportedly insisted on going ahead with the meeting. When Advani came to the fore to speak, he reportedly said, “Both points of the opposition leaders are relevant. Let us call a meeting later.”
The opposition praised Advani’s decision and stressed on calling the meeting off.
Anurag Thakur, thought disappointed, had to go by Advani’s order, and thus the meeting was adjourned.
The Network Neutrality issue is currently being heatedly debated and gained considerable momentum in India, with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) inviting comments on the same from stakeholders in its consultation paper released in March 2015.
TRAI has couched the issue of Net Neutrality within the context of “Over the Top” applications. “Over The Top” applications are the “apps” that one uses on communication devices such as WhatsApp, Skype, Viber etc.
TRAI’s consultation paper is not a consultation on Net Neutrality per se, but its implications on telecom operators such as Airtel, Vodafone etc. The TRAI paper argues that in order to have a robust, competitive and innovative market, telecom operators should be allowed to charge not only the end consumer who uses internet, but also the application providers for the data used.