Panel discussion on Net Neutrality
CSI, Noida Chapter along with IMS Noida jointly organized a panel discussion on the subject of net neutrality involving experts from IT sector, telecom sector, journalism etc. The program commenced with lightening of the lamp accompanied by Saraswati Vandana and a formal welcome of all the dignitaries with presentation of bouquets. The session was chaired by Shri Gopal Agarwal, an economic expert and founder of Nagrik Manch having vast experience in the field of financial markets and economics. Dr Arvind Gupta was the key note speaker of the discussion being an IT Expert and Vice-President of IT-BHU Global Alumni Association. He is the chief mentor of IdeasWall which is an Incubator based in Noida which provides a platform for Technology startups. Amongst other dignitaries were Shri Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India and Shri Deepak Kumar Sahoo, telecom industry expert (Varindia.com).The event kicked off with the introduction of the theme by Shri Anuj Agarwal, Chiarman, CSI, Noida Chapter. After having introduced the concept of net neutrality, he emphasized on the freedom of the people to use internet in a free country like India. He correlated the concept of hampering net neutrality by telecom service providers to that of Alexander The Great’s turning back his troops from India though he was an undefeated ruler. Dr Arvind Gupta supported the issue from consumer’s point of view. He emphasized that consumers had the freedom of expression and right to access free information. He talked about throttling of information over internet which impacts the download speed, access of sites, content being made available etc. He said that it was important for the decision makers to rationally think about freedom of expression versus service providers cost versus net neutrality. Shri Rajan Mathew briefed about how society evolved from landlines to mobile phones and the role of information carriers. He supported the cause of net neutrality but brought into light issues like managing traffic on internet, spectrum scarcity, global pricing of broadband services, prepaid to post paid connection and analysed the issue from the viewpoint of telecom service providers. Shri Deepak Sahoo highlighted the various concepts related to net neutrality and future aspects of net neutrality. The session was concluded by Shri Gopal Agarwal wherein he summarized the discussion by the key speakers on the event and emphasized about correctly and precisely defining the cost related to provision of broadband services to the society at large. Dr Kamaljeet Singh Anand strongly expressed his views over the issue. He correlated net neutrality with the economic viability of discriminating the essential right of the consumers to free information access. He urged the decision makers to consider the welfare maximization of the society at large and asked them to ponder over the dead weight loss that will be generated in the society due to violation of freedom of expression and speech of the consumers if net neutrality is hampered. He strongly recommended that the policy and decision makers need to view this issue from a temporal view point as well as see its impact over various cross sections of the society. He then gave vote of thanks to all the eminent speakers. The event concluded with the presentation of mementoes to all the dignitaries.