Telecom regulator upholds principle of net neutrality

Jon Howard
November 29, 2017

Commenting on the development, a spokesperson for NASSCOM said, "As India undergoes its data revolution, we welcome TRAI's commitment to the preserve the democracy of the Internet and user rights to the freedom of speech and expression". Therefore, it is important that this platform be kept open and free and not cannibalized.

Here's a video deconstructing just why net neutrality is a bad thing.

"Networks should not prefer one content over other. should not block or offer fast lane (to certain content)", Sharma emphasised.

Indian telecom regulator-Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday favoured Net Neutrality principles and suggested that restrictions or preferential access to the internet should not be allowed. Today, it's recommended that all ISPs should adhere to the principle of non-discriminatory treatment of content.

On 27 March, 2015, TRAI had issued a consultation paper titled 'Regulatory Framework for Over-The-Top Service.' Apart from issues relating to Over-The-Top (OTT) service, this consultation paper also touched upon issues related to net neutrality.

Specialised services are essentially those services that have extremely critical quality requirement, which are not really internet related. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said it was disappointed that the authority did not adopt the industry recommendation to have a wider approach to net neutrality, and that issues of OTT players were not considered. Then, we don't have to prescribe penalties separately for violation of net neutrality because those principles will become part of that document (licensing agreement). They do however say that they will not discriminate and throttle based on content.

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In its response, Nasscom said: "As India undergoes data revolution, the regulator's recommendations are in line with our view for unrestrained access to all lawful content and services but subject to national security and privacy".

The telecom operators should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content, sender or receiver, protocols or user equipment, said Trai.

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 Internet Access Service Providers may take reasonable measurement for traffic management, provided the same are proportionate, transient and transparent".

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.

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

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