India regulator releases net neutrality recommendations

Nov 29, 2017, 01:02
India regulator releases net neutrality recommendations

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's headquarters in New Delhi.

Internet firms lauded TRAI's recommendations on net neutrality, which calls for unhindered access to content and services over the web, while telecom operators said that the regulator has applied a narrow definition to the topic. The authority, however, recommends that "CDNs should not be included within the scope of any restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment, which are designed specifically to cover the providers of Internet Access Services".

According to net neutrality principles, internet service providers should treat all data on the internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.

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

Nikhil Pawa, a Net Neutrality activist and the founder of Save the Internet welcomed TRAI recommendations and thanked the regulator for allowing citizens to participate in the policy-making process, in a tweet.

The two major recommendations are: 1) Internet service providers must not engage in discriminatory treatment of content, and 2) Licensee can't enter into an agreement that has any discriminatory content effect.

Consequently, on issues that concern consumer protection, transparency and monitoring of compliance, the telecom regulator may go ahead and issue regulations as it sees fit.

The principles are to apply only to "internet access services", a term which has been defined in the recommendations.

Trai Chairman R S Sharma called for Internet, an important platform for India, being kept open and free, and not cannibalised.

Noting that the reforms would prevent telecom firms from discriminating content, Institute of Finance and International Management's Assistant Professor Pritam Kumar said access to all services would enable better internet services and more freedom to netizens.

27 March, 2015. TRAI considered the matter and chose to deal with the issue of Net Neutrality first.

"The licensing terms should be amplified to provide explicit restrictions on any sort of discrimination in Internet access based on the content being assessed, the protocols being used or the user equipment being deployed". Services where quality is extremely critical.

TRAI said the basic principle followed while issuing the suggestions that internet services should be non discriminatory.

These reasonable traffic management practices should be transparent and transient.

Industry body representing Internet firms Internet Association Mobile Association of India (IMAI) lauded the recommendations, calling them progressive and pragmatic, which recognise the requirements of expansion of digital services in the country.