Saturday, September 13, 2008

Airtel India blocks IRC Undernet

The Undernet group of servers in the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) system, ( has been inaccessible since the last week of August for Airtel India users. Despite many complaints by many users to Airtel India over the last 20 days, they are still in denial mode and refuse to acknowledge a problem.

For the uninitiated, The Undernet is one of the oldest and largest realtime chat networks in the world, with approximately 19 servers connecting over 35 countries and serving more than 1,000,000 people weekly. See for further information.

The problem is faced by all Airtel ISP users in India across all Indian cities - Delhi, Bangalore, Allahabad, etc.

Since the undernet group of servers generally has a community of vocal and gifted programmers/hackers, it is possible that Airtel has decided to 'silently' block this and claim otherwise. If so, this goes against our right to free speech and expression:

If you are an Airtel user, please register a complaint by e-mailing Airtel at your city's customer care address, the list of which are available from:

For example, the complaint e-mail for Bangalore is:
Please note - that page DOES NOT WORK in firefox (or any other browser apart from Internet Explorer) - another minus mark against Airtel.

Users have a on-going discussion page at the Undernet forums , but are unsure on what to do.

I am a 2Mbps, un-limited download Airtel user. For India, which has poor broadband facilities, that falls into the top segment of broad-band users and I pay a bucket of money for the service.

After Airtel's well known policy of padding your bills with ringtone costs you never use - (and calling them up to fix this never works), this is personally pretty much the limit for me.