Net neutrality: It's now or never, says Google’s Anandan at NASSCOM 2016

To ensure net neutrality, the government must acknowledge its obligation to provide Internet connectivity like it has an obligation to provide education and other basic amenities.

In light of TRAI’s recent ruling with respect to differential pricing and the ban of Free Basics in India, Rajan Anandan, VP and MD - South East Asia and India, Google, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder of PayTM, spoke at NASSCOM 2016 about what the government should do to connect the people to the Internet.

Speaking passionately about net neutrality, Anandan said that India deserves a free and fair Internet. “If we don’t have net neutrality now, then I do not think we will ever have net neutrality. It is not something that we can reverse,” he said.

“The government has an obligation to provide Internet connectivity like it has an obligation to provide education and other basic amenities,” said Sharma.

Anandan said that initiatives like the National Fiber Optic Network, which was commissioned in 2011, but still hasn’t been rolled out, are essential for universal Internet inclusion. He said such initiatives are transformational, will make sense for rural entrepreneurship and should be implemented soon.

Proper spectrum allocation is also a matter of concern. “Currently, we do not have enough spectrum in the wireless side. The auction of spectrum has to be right,” Anandan said.

There are 300 million people who are connected to the Internet currently, but Anandan and Sharma feel that technological advancements in Wi-Fi connectivity, battery life, innovation and data plans are imperative to get the next billion people online.

 

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