News Worms
News Worms

India Just Backed Net Neutrality

India Just Backed Net Neutrality

"The discriminatory treatment in the context of treatment of content would include 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", TRAI said.

In America, the main regulator, the Federal Communications Commission or FCC, says it plans to repeal landmark 2015 rules that banned Internet providers from slowing down access to or charging more for some content.

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.

For monitoring and investigation of violations, a collaborative mechanism has been recommended to be established in the form of multi-stakeholder body which would be responsible for developing technical standards pertaining to monitoring of TMPs and enforcement of the principles. Net neutrality is core to the future of India's digital economy.

TRAI, in its recommendations, exempted the "specialised service", which has already raised several eyebrows.

Going ahead, in the first week of December, Trai is set to issue recommendations on in-flight connectivity for providing phone call and data service in domestic and global routes. "Though the covering letter indicates that TRAI may issue regulations in this regard, that will need approval from DoT". Based on the responses received, open house discussions were held in three cities.

With that, India is one step closer to ensuring that net neutrality is enforced nationwide.

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 ruling, however, doesn't come without exemptions.

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

"Specialised services equally state that exception of specialised services should not utilised to circumvent overall implementation of net neutrality". Backers of net neutrality have demanded against having any traffic management practices, except in cases of emergencies, such as natural disasters. These are specialized things because they are not using public internet.

Supporters of Net neutrality back the principle that the entire Internet traffic should be available to everyone on equal terms without any discrimination based on business considerations of service providers.

TRAI earlier in the day said internet services should be non-discriminatory and suggested a legal body to monitor violations.

IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, at that point of time, pledged his support for a non-discriminatory internet. TRAI previously prevented Facebook from pushing Free Basics, a zero-rated service that granted access to select sites and services on its platform for free, while operating as a gatekeeper that could decide which sites would be allowed in. "Overall framing and recommendations are positive and supportive of worldwide best practices to protect Net Neutrality", Gupta said.


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