Economy

India Just Backed Net Neutrality

India Just Backed Net Neutrality

Sector regulator TRAI on Tuesday came out with its recommendations on Net Neutrality and says there should not be any discriminatory access to neither internet or content being distributed over internet.

While discriminator treatment includes "any form of discrimination, restriction or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content".

Recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Net neutrality are broadly in line with its February 2016 regulation prohibiting discriminatory tariffs for data services.

Our unified license document states very clearly that there should be unrestricted and non-discriminatory access.

These specialised services - the likes of telesurgery will be identified by the telecom department, which will also take a final call on Trai's overall recommendations on net neutrality.

The telecom sector watchdog said the Internet service providers (ISPs) can not be discriminatory in providing Internet access as it is an open platform based on the Constitutional right of equality.

The US regulatory agency, the Federal Communications Commission, led by Republican Ajit Pai, will vote at a 14 December meeting on a plan to repeal rules on net neutrality. Internet today is a great platform for innovation, banking, public services, government applications such as tele-medicine, health, education, agriculture.

"We had proposed broad approach on net neutrality covering national priority of connecting the next one billion unconnected people in India and licensing for over-the-top players", telecom operators body COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI.

More news: Higher demand for Christmas trees than available, recession takes toll

While free web access is a good thing - especially in developing economies - it can't come with damning restrictions like the ones Facebook has in mind if the goal is to get everyone on an open and equal internet.

While the regulator has suggested a number of rules, it hasn't defined net neutrality as such...

"We expect Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to be key beneficiaries as they already have presence in content platforms", the report said.

Under the principle of net neutrality, telecom service providers must treat all internet traffic equally, without any regard to the type, origin or destination of the content or the means of its transmission.

TRAI also notes that "DoT may establish a multi-stakeholder body with framework for collaborative mechanism" for "monitoring and enforcement" of net neutrality recommendations.

Specialised services are essentially those services that have extremely critical quality requirement, which are not really internet related.

Trai recommended that the terms of various licence agreements governing the provision of internet services in India be amended in order to incorporate the principles of non-discriminatory treatment of content by internet access services along with the appropriate exclusions and exceptions.

These reasonable traffic management practices should be transparent and transient.


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