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Parliamentary Committee to discuss Net Neutrality issue today

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

After a long-running debate, the controversial net neutrality issue will be discussed today by a parliamentary committee in a special meeting. The gathering will also be attended by officials from telecom companies like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.

The main agenda of this meeting is to understand the views of telecom company officials on the topic that has been creating uproar for some time. In fact, even a number of MPs had spoken in favor of net neutrality in the Parliament during this year’s budget session.

According to sources, the views of telecom officials on net neutrality are very crucial for the proper understanding of the issue that triggered a storm after a consultation paper floated by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last month suggested that net neutrality could end.

Amid controversies, the issue has united almost all the political parties in India, be it BJP, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena or INC. Derek O’Brien from Trinamool Congress had even raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha regarding the subject of Internet equality.

When asked about his plans for today’s meeting, he said, “I am glad that Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari allowed Calling Attention Motion on it (earlier this month). And I am glad that the matter has gone to the next stage.”

He also said that he hopes the government will see ‘some sense’ and not consider the TRAI consultation paper.

The government has made it clear that no decision has been taken on the matter yet, and has also promised to ensure ‘non-discriminatory access to Internet’ to all citizens.

During the parliament session, IT and Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said, “Government stands for ensuring non-discriminatory access to internet for all citizens of the country. It is committed to the fundamental principles and concept of net neutrality, keeping the internet accessible and available to all without discrimination.”

While replying to the Calling Attention Motion in Rajya Sabha raised by Derek O’Brien, Prasad said, “Connectivity to internet must go in an unhindered manner. I assure the House that the key principles of net neutrality will be followed while following concerns with a national outlook.”

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Reliance Jio Adds Most Subscribers in April; Airtel, VIL Lose: Report

The other major service providers, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL), further eroded their subscriber base in April

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Jio
Jio services now include attractive lifestyle products as well. (Wikimedia Commons)

Continuing its growth trend, Reliance Jio added around 80.82 lakh subscribers in April, showed data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday. Jio’s subscriber base stood at around 31.48 crore at the end of April, it said.

State-run BSNL was the only other gainer with over 2.28 lakh new subscribers taking its total tally to around 11.59 crore.

The total number of wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA and LTE) increased 0.04 per cent from 116.18 crore in March to 116.23 crore at the end of April.

Reliance Jio. Source: www.reliancejio.website

“The wireless subscription in urban areas increased from 650.49 million (65.04 crore) at the end of March 2019 to 652.35 million (65.23 crore) at the end of April 2019. However, in the rural area, it declined from 511.32 million (51.13 crore) to 509.95 million (50.99 crore) during the month. The monthly growth rates of urban and rural wireless subscription were 0.29 per cent and (-)0.27 per cent respectively,” the TRAI report said.

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The other major service providers, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL), further eroded their subscriber base in April.

Bharti Airtel lost 32.89 lakh subscribers pulling its subscriber base down to around 32.19 crore, while the Vodafone Idea, the largest company in terms of susbcriptions, lost 15.82 lakh connections taking its tally to around 39.32 crore subscribers. (IANS)