India Just Backed Net Neutrality

Internet services should be non-discriminatory TRAI on Net

"Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content", the regulator said in its detailed recommendations.

Today, it's recommended that all ISPs should adhere to the principle of non-discriminatory treatment of content.

Furthermore, TRAI barred service providers from entering into any kind of arrangement with any entity that would result in discriminatory access. It has clarified specialised services are not allowed as a replacement for Internet Access Services and the provision of the "specialised services is not detrimental to the availability and overall quality of Internet Access Service".

This is at odds with the U.S. regulator, which seems to be moving towards dismantling rules on net neutrality.

TRAI's recommendation clearly backs the idea of treating the internet as an essential resource that should be provided to all without any discrimination.

"Internet should be kept open and free and not cannibalised".




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.

If the government accepts the proposal, ISPs will not be able to block or throttle any web traffic or offer fast lanes for content providers who pay for the facility.

"No one owns the Internet, so it should be open and accessible to everyone".

As Access Now - a transparency and internet access advocacy platform - explains, the ball is now in the government's court.

The recommendations follow a consultation process that lasted for over a year, after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sought TRAI's views on the issue in March 2016, with an aim to "finalise a viewpoint" on net neutrality. Internet firms lauded Trai's recommendations, while telecom operators said that the regulator has applied a "narrow definition" to the topic.

However, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews said the suggestion to form a committee to review and decide on network management violations is "unnecessarily bureaucratic", and not in keeping with "light touch regulation or the ease of doing business".

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