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An Open Letter on Net Neutrality

Thoughtworks India, its employees and leadership, believe that maintaining a free and open Internet is essential for the continued growth of India’s Internet ecosystem. Net Neutrality is an anti-discrimination policy and we believe that any divergence from the same could severely hamper the growth of the country’s eCommerce sector and negatively impact virtually every form of online activity.

The principle of Network Neutrality prevents discrimination of content by a service provider. This means that the user has access to a plurality of content. This plurality plays another role which is to maintain competition in the online market space.

The unique freedom of ‘permission-less innovation’ provided by the Internet, means that any one can launch a website or service, make it instantly available to the world and compete with the biggest, richest corporations and powerful governments.

In the words of Thoughtworks' Founder and Chairman Roy Singham

“A neutral Internet puts the power in the hands of the people, not the one percent. Without net neutrality . . .  an organization like Thoughtworks that creates jobs and sparks innovation could be stifled. The future of the Internet could very well come to be dominated by incumbents and others rich enough to pay new tolls required to succeed online.”

The Indian government needs to act with urgency, particularly as net neutrality regulation will encourage service providers to invest in infrastructure development leading to greater bandwidth for consumers. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recently published a consultation paper seeking to introduce a licensing framework to cover all ‘over the top’ communication services and applications available on the Internet. This would mean that applications such as Gchat, Skype, Viber, and Facebook chat  will require government licensing before citizens can use them.The consultation also seeks public opinion specifically on the issue of network neutrality.

It’s imperative for Indian netizens to get involved in this issue. The public consultation issued by TRAI ends on April 24, 2015 and we urge you to make your voice heard by sending an email (a format of which is available at http://www.savetheinternet.in/) to TRAI and register your support for an open Internet.

The Managing Director of Thoughtworks India
Sameer Soman

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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