Coming together with a shared purpose, 129 startup leaders from India, featuring prominent figures such as Vijay Shekhar Sharma from Paytm, Sameer Nigam from PhonePe and Nithin Kamath from Zerodha, have jointly written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to strengthen the root principles of net neutrality, which were originally laid out by the government back in 2016.
The startup founders are reacting to a proposal by telecom giants like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. These telecom companies want internet firms to pay based on their internet usage, potentially weakening net neutrality and harming smaller players in the market, limiting choices for users.
In their letter to TRAI’s Chairman PD Vaghela and Advisor Akhilesh Kumar Trievdy, the startup founders stress the importance of reinforcing the 2016 regulations governing net neutrality, especially in light of recent demands from Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and their potential economic impacts. They firmly advocate for the preservation and enhancement of these principles rather than any dilution.
Net neutrality is a key idea that insists on internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom companies treating all online traffic fairly. It prevents them from showing favoritism or unfair treatment to specific websites, apps or online services. This ensures that all internet data gets equal and unbiased handling.
In addition to the startup founders, influential figures within the startup community such as Rohan Verma from Mappls, Murugavel Janakiraman from Bharat Matrimony, Shreyas Srinivasan from PayTM Insider, Ritesh Malik and various others have also expressed their support for the appeal made to TRAI.
The letter was sent as part of the “Save the Internet” initiative, which was originally introduced in 2015. This campaign garnered extensive backing from the public, with many individuals writing to TRAI, urging them to maintain the principles of net neutrality. As a result, in 2016, TRAI implemented regulations that reaffirmed the significance of preserving net neutrality.