Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Telecom Commission clears new telecom policy, backs net neutrality

Telecom Commission clears new telecom policy, backs net neutrality

TRAI's announcement followed after several activists called out Facebook's Internet.org plan, saying it violated net neutrality rules and ensured an unfair advantage for deep-pocketed American companies.

No service provider can offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content. All data on the internet is equal, and ISPs can not engage in practices like "blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content".

India finally will now be governed by the net neutrality rules as the Telecom Commission has approved of the recommendations made by the regulatory body Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI).

So it comes as a bit of shock to the system to see reporting from The Times of India that India's legislature today approved its own set of net neutrality principles, along with "stiff penalties" for those who fail to abide the new rules.

She, however, added that certain emerging and critical services will be kept out of the purview of these norms.

Sundararajan said DoT would identify the critical services and there will be a separate regime for such services in consultation with Trai informally but licenses will be amended immediately to accommodate net neutrality principles.

Internet access in India will remain unfettered with the government accepting the telecom regulator's recommendations to introduce one of the strongest net neutrality protections in the world. TRAI head RS Sharma compared these services to ambulances, saying that they can legally disobey traffic rules or enjoy priority status to maintain service quality.

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With more and more Indians coming online - it's estimated to have hit the 500 million mark last month - the need for net neutrality clarity is important.

Some questioned if subscribers of the low-priced plan were given slower Internet connection speeds than those who pay more, the commission said.

Net Neutrality is no longer.

However, the Telecom Commission has kept services like remote surgery and autonomous cars out of the framework of net neutrality along with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

Singh agrees. "Retailing connectivity in this manner is the way to go if we want to quickly expand the internet access among the people, if we want to take the internet cheaply to the poor people of the country". "Therefore, India must have ease of doing business and enabling policy environment".

Others, including Facebook and Google, were also forced to abandon their zero-rating platforms and deals. This has ultimately led to a reversal of pro-Net Neutrality rules. The decision that came in June in the U.S. paves the way for service providers to slow down or block particular content for users. The DoT will also be framing a policy on net neutrality traffic management.

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