Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad affirmed the government’s stand on non-discriminatory access to internet speaking at the inauguration of stock exchange BSE’s free wi-fi service to public, launched in partnership with Tata Docomo.
“The issue of net neutrality is being debated by the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and we have to await the TRAI report. Thereafter, the government will take its structured view,” said Prasad.
The government has set up an expert panel to look into the issue of net neutrality, following the raging debate on providing unbiased internet experience — no priority should be given to an entity or company based on payments to service providers such as telecom companies.
“I have told the Parliament that internet is the finest creation of human mind. It must remain as a privilege and not become monopoly of the rich.
“Also, non-discriminatory access of Internet shall be given,” he said.
Noting that a detailed report is being awaited from TRAI, Prasad said decisions would be based on fair consultations with all concerned stakeholders. “We (the government) respect the freedom of social media and have larger commitment to non-discriminatory access,” he added.
“Today mobile penetration is 100 crore, while internet penetration is 40 crore. It took more than 3-4 years to become from 20 to 30 crore. It took less than a year to become from 30 to 40 crore and I have fixed a target of 50 crore…God willing, we will cross 50 crore in coming 6-7 months,” he said noting that wi-fi services are crucial to connect India, Prasad said that state-owned telecom firm BSNL plans to install 2,500 wi-fi hotspots at 256 places by the next fiscal.
So far, the Tata Docomo has installed 500 wi-fi hotspots in 200 places. The wi-fi hotspot project will provide a major fillip to the ‘Digital India’ initiative. The in 2014, unveiled the Digital India initiative comprising various projects worth about Rs 1 lakh crore to transform the country into a digitally empowered knowledge economy. The programme includes projects that aim to ensure that government services are available to citizens electronically and people get benefits of the latest information and communication technology.
Read full article: Hindustan Times