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Net Neutrality: Making Children Aware


I was sitting in the park after a vigorous jog, cooling my heels, literally. It was a balmy evening , unusually pleasant for March which otherwise is hot as Hades. The park was the scene of hectic activity. Kids were running around, shouting with glee. A clutch of old men were huddled together around a game of cards. Fat women were huffing and puffing with all their might on the jogging track determined to lose weight faster and more than Mrs. Jones. Normal everyday life.

On the bench next to me were two teenage girls sitting cozily chatting. One of them had an earnest look on her face, her hair askew and wore frumpy clothes. The other was wearing short and smart clothes, hair tinted at the edge. In good old days when we were not all that bothered by politically correct references, I’d have called them the Bimbo and the Blue stocking. Of course now we cannot stereotype people like that, it being unfair and all that. But we are amongst friends. Who is telling?

Anyways their voices floated towards me. Not that I meant to eavesdrop. They were not whispering either.

“Have you mailed TRAI in support of Net Neutrality?” Piped a girl. This must be the Blue Stocking.

“Net What?” asked the Other. Typical Bimbo response, I thought sagely.

Although I had been reading about it cursorily, I immediately googled net neutrality on my smart phone. It was defined as the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.

Fair enough. Was there any other way?

Apparently not. A cursory search on Wikipedia shows a history of struggle between the Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the rule enforcement authorities in Europe and America.

Many ISPs tried a concept of zero-rating, wherein companies will reimburse data use from certain addresses, favoring use of those services. So the Fat Cows that pay the ISP handsomely rule the roost. Those who don’t, die an online death as people prefer not to access them.

In India there are no laws enforcing net neutrality. Taking advantage many companies have started flouting the net neutrality for more revenue. Now what they are doing was unethical but not illegal. Reacting on this, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India published a paper on OTT services and sought public opinion. So far more than 1,000,000 e-mails and online petitions have been received by TRAI.

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Sia Mitra is a freelance writer and blogger with more than a decade of experience. She has written for most major publications like Femina, Prevention, Complete Well-being, Child, Mother & Baby, Parent & Child, Womens Era, etc.


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