India's Internet governance model to balance public-private interests

India's internet governance model will be consistent with the role private firms play in widening internet's reach and the pre-eminent role of government in public welfare, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.  

India's Internet governance model to balance public-private interests

New Delhi: India's internet governance model will be consistent with the role private firms play in widening internet's reach and the pre-eminent role of government in public welfare, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

In recent times, issues related to privacy, content regulation and barrier to access internet or internet-based services have been in the spotlight.

"Today, I tried to understand the trend and cross trend of internet governance and related issues across the world. India will decide on its internet governance model which will be consistent with the role private players play in spread of internet and pre-eminent role played by government in public welfare," Prasad told PTI after a meeting on internet governance with ministry officials.

Internet governance applies to activities as diverse as coordination of technical standards, operation of critical infrastructure, development, regulation and legislation.

"To come up with a broad framework, we will need to consult various stakeholders," Prasad said.

Net-neutrality, which is access to internet or internet based services without any barrier or discrimination, has been in limelight following telecom major Airtel announcing a plan to charge separately for internet-based voice calls. The company later backtracked its plan following huge public outcry on social media.

TRAI is expected to come out with a consultation paper to take a public view on regulating over-the-top telecom (OTT) players like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber which facilitate their users to make calls or send messages using the internet for free.

OTT subscribers are only required to pay for internet data consumed for using.

Prasad in his meeting with US under-secretary of state Catherine Novelli earlier this week had said, "For India, net neutrality is very important."

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