Published: Wed, November 29, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

India regulator releases net neutrality recommendations

India regulator releases net neutrality recommendations

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has published its recommendations for upholding net neutrality guidelines (PDF) across the country today, and boy, do they look good - for consumers, that is.

Last week, United States federal communications commission chairman Ajit Pai, appointed by Donald Trump in January, unveiled plans to rescind so-called net neutrality rules championed by former President Barack Obama that treated internet service providers like public utilities.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday issued its recommendations on net neutrality in India asserting that there should be no intrusion of equal internet access to everyone, based on just the content. TRAI, in its recommendations, has duly noted that internet is an open platform and as such internet services must be non-discriminatory.

According to the telecom ministry, the new guidelines will be applicable to all Internet services and some "specialised services" as well.

Mobile phone companies, however, are miffed with the "piece meal" approach of Trai's recommendations to Net Neutrality and are likely to shortly seek DoT's intervention on a host of issues.

He said that the right to access to the internet was "non-negotiable", and that no single body will have any monopoly over internet services. "It would also not restrict adoption of reasonable traffic management practices by the service provider", it added.

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"We will be bringing out Net neutrality recommendations tomorrow".

"Special provisions for IoT, specialised services and content delivery networks reflect a forward-looking recommendation that takes into account the needs of the foreseeable future", said IAMAI.

It's worth noting how different India's stance on net neutrality is from that of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai. Essentially, what we are saying is if telecom service providers have charged for data, then they should just do data relaying.

However critical IoT services identified by DoT would be automatically excluded.

The Oxford English dictionary defines net neutrality as "the principle that ISPs should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites". "Content would incude all content, applications, services and any other data, including its end-point information, that can be accessed or transmitted over the internet", the TRAI recommends.

The body said that the Licensing terms should also lists out the nature of bias, the service provider might be planning on in order to provide content. Backers of net neutrality have demanded against having any traffic management practices, except in cases of emergencies, such as natural disasters.

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