30 November, 2017
The regulator's much-awaited recommendations, issued on Tuesday, clearly state that blocking, degrading or granting preferential speed to one content over another (higher speeds to one kind of content against another) will be treated as discriminatory.
The regulator has however exempted content delivery networks within a telco's own network from any restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment.
'The core principles of net neutrality, non-discriminatory treatment of all content, treating internet as an open platform, we've upheld them, ' said Trai chairman RS Sharma. "It would also not restrict adoption of reasonable traffic management practices by the service provider", Trai added.
In India, the whole debate over net neutrality erupted in 2015 when Trai came out with a consultation paper on the regulatory framework for over-the-top services. However, it allowed certain exemptions for specialised services which are optimised for specific content and are not internet services.
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"No one owns the Internet, so it should be open and accessible to everyone".
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday recommended upholding the basic principle of net neutrality by keeping the Internet open and prohibiting any service provider from discriminating on the basis of content by either blocking, throttling, or "fast-laning" any apps, websites or web services.
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. Even as telecom regulators around the globe are pushing the world towards a non-neutral internet, TRAI has been doing its bit to keep the internet free of discriminatory practices. With TRAI playing its part, it's up to the ministry of communications and information technology to now incorporate the recommendations in legislation.
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. "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".