TRAI Issues Recommendations On Net Neutrality; Defends Free Internet
These recommendations make Net Neutrality - the principle that says that all bits on the internet should be treated equally - rules in India far more ironclad than in the U.S., where the FCC moved last week to repeal rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing websites, or charging a premium for "fast lanes" for things like high-quality streaming.
TRAI also recommended that "specialised services" and content delivery networks (CDNs) be excluded from the scope of "any rules on net neutrality".
India's telecom regulator, on Tuesday, came out swinging in favour of the principle of net neutrality, proposing a set of recommendations that would restrict "any form of discrimination or interference" in the treatment of online content.
The new regulations go a step further and recommend prohibiting any service provider from throttling data speeds. While the regulator has not laid down a clear definition of specialised services, it said the DoT may identify these services, and the status should only be given if a service follows two broad principles.
The much-awaited recommendations come after TRAI floated a consultation paper on the topic inviting views on net neutrality in January.
Experts suggest that the CDN exemption could strengthen the position of integrated operators which also provide content.
The guidelines issued by India's telecom regulator state that no internet access service provider shall resort to any form of discrimination, restriction or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds. For example, any operator with own content platform, which is working only on its own network, will be able to charge differential pricing. "The implementation of these regulations by the government of India would include formally issuing new executive orders to amend the telecom license conditions of service providers who have been licensed to operate in India by the government".
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