Net neutrality violation against freedom of speech: Nasscom


New Delhi, April 22 : Coming out strongly in support of Net neutrality, IT industry body Nasscom today said any discrimination in giving access to Internet amounts to violation of freedom of speech and expression.

“Any restrictions placed on access to platforms of data are tantamount to a restriction of freedom of expression because my freedom of expression includes my freedom to be heard. You can say something and as long as no body heard you is not freedom of speech,” R Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom, told reporters.

He said Net neutrality creates an open field that facilitates innovation, adoption and inclusion and along with this, proliferation of affordable telecom infrastructure is also a must.

Chandrashekhar saw no contradiction between the twin objectives of growth of innovative application ecosystem and telecom infrastructure.

He made it clear that Nasscom is against all platforms that discriminate access to Internet mainly on basis of payments including zero rating plan.

‘Airtel Zero’ remains at the heart of the whole issue, which is a zero rating platform. Similar plans are offered by telecom companies in the US as well where Net neutrality rules are already in place.

He was of the view that over-the-top (OTT) players do not need licensing regime as they already fall under the ambit of IT Act.

“If applications will be brought under licensing regime, India will not have access to innovative applications and people have no reason to subscribe to Internet packs, and data revenue of telecom operators will also suffer,” Nasscom Internet Council Chairman Sanjeev Bhikchandani said.

Among other suggestions, Nasscom has recommended that there should be “no double dipping by telecom service providers — charging of data from both consumer and application/platform provider”