Friday, 15 December, 2017

TRAI Issues Recommendations On Net Neutrality; Defends Free Internet

Trai to issue Net Neutrality recommendations today Trai To Issue Suggestions On Net Neutrality Today
Juana Turner | 29 November, 2017, 01:01

The 'recommendations on net-neutrality' come close to three years after the first committee was established by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in January 2015.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will give its recommendations on the contentious issue of net neutrality on Tuesday. In principle it means no service provider can discriminate internet speed and cannot offer preferential access to its customers.

"Service providers should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract by whatever name called... that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content...", it said. Today, it's recommended that all ISPs should adhere to the principle of non-discriminatory treatment of content.

Nikhil Pawa, a Net Neutrality activist and the founder of Save the Internet welcomed TRAI recommendations and thanked the regulator for allowing citizens to participate in the policy-making process, in a tweet.

Consequently, on issues that concern consumer protection, transparency and monitoring of compliance, the telecom regulator may go ahead and issue regulations as it sees fit.

The US regulator, Federal Communications Commission, has said recently that it plans to roll back the "net neutrality" rules the were adopted in America in 2015 and voting on the issue is scheduled in December. Content has been defined to include "content, applications, services and any other data, including its end-point information, which can be accessed or transmitted over the Internet". So essentially what we are saying is keeping these overarching principles in mind, we have given these recommendations to ensure internet remains an open and free platform in our country.

Net Neutrality activists argue that internet must not be regulated based on the content and everyone should get equal rights to choose and access content. Net Neutrality is the way that the internet has always worked.

However, Trai has allowed certain exemptions including specialised services and the time-critical IoT services (like autonomous cars). It further applies to Internet of Things (IoT) as a class of services, with the exception of IoT services as specialised services, that may be specified by the TRAI.

In its response, Nasscom said: "As India undergoes data revolution, the regulator's recommendations are in line with our view for unrestrained access to all lawful content and services but subject to national security and privacy".

"The Internet Access Service Providers may take reasonable measurement for traffic management, provided the same are proportionate, transient and transparent".

With regard to the penalty, we have recommended changes in licensing conditions.

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