National

Net to stay free: Govt approves net neutrality

NEW DELHI, JUL 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/11/2018 11:07:00 PM IST
Telecom Commission has approved the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) net neutrality recommendations which bar service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access. Some mission critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will however be kept out of the purview of net neutrality framework.
TRAI had issued its recommendations on net neutrality in India in November 2017 asserting that there should be no intrusion of equal internet access to everyone, based on just the content. TRAI, in its recommendations, has duly noted that internet is an open platform and as such internet services must be non-discriminatory. The recommendations - which were the result of a long, multistage consultation process, according to TRAI -- were then forwarded to the ministry of IT and Communication.
“The Telecom Commission (TC) today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI expect some critical services will be kept out of its purview,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan was quoted by PTI as saying.
TC also approved the new telecom policy-- National Digital Communications Policy 2018 -- for seeking approval of the Union Cabinet, Sundararajan said.
“Everybody in the meeting today said that digital infrastructure is even more important than physical infrastructure for India... CEO of Niti Ayog (Amitabh Kant) said that for...districts, we must ensure digital infrastructure is provided at the earliest. Therefore, India must have ease of doing business and enabling policy environment,” she said.
According to TRAI, operators must be barred from blocking, degrading or slowing internet traffic selectively. Additionally, they must also refrain from getting into any tie-ups that lead to discriminatory treatment of internet traffic. Licensing terms must also detail the list of bias the operator may have in terms of offering content, the regulatory authority adds.
“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,” TRAI had said.
“This principle would apply to any discriminatory treatment based on the sender or receiver, the network protocols, or the user equipment, but not to specialised services or other exclusions. It would also not restrict adoption of reasonable traffic management practices by the service provider.”
Further, as per TRAI, “Internet of Things (IoT), as a class of service are not excluded from the scope of the restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment.” The authority, however, recommends that “CDNs should not be included within the scope of any restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment, which are designed specifically to cover the providers of Internet Access Services.”

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