India's Argument Against Net Neutrality

The ultimate goal should be wider access for all.

Companies like Airtel have a right to make profits.

Photographer: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

Does India present the world’s best argument against net neutrality? Possibly. In a matter of weeks, the country's telecom regulator will decide whether telecom companies -- which also happen to be India's major Internet service providers -- will be allowed to charge different prices for differential use of data over the Internet. Activists are outraged by a recent consultation paper floated by regulators, which they say is biased against net neutrality -- the principle that all data should be treated equally on the Internet. They’re equally outraged by a plan from telecom major Airtel -- called Airtel Zero -- that offers subscribers free access to certain apps like the e-commerce platform Flipkart, which pays Airtel for the privilege.

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