Telecom Commission approves net neutrality rules recommended by Trai

Saturday, 14 Jul, 2018

In a bid to ensure that netizens continue to have free and fair access to the internet, the government recently approved the principles of net neutrality in India.

From now on, Internet Service Providers (ISP) are not allowed to throttle internet speeds or grant favorable speeds to content providers. 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".

"The Telecom Commission today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI, except some critical services will be kept out of its purview", Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters. "All IoTs (Internet of Things) will not come under the categories of net neutrality", she added. The aggregator would aggregate internet bandwidth from multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and retail it to the PDOs - and the aggregators would not need a telecom licence, but only to register themselves with the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has finally agreed to the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regarding net neutrality. The decision also carries with it the heft of TRAI's authority.

A body of industry representatives and civil society will also be set up to monitor and enforce the net neutrality norms.

In early 2015, TRAI notified the public of twenty questions they had to answer about what the policies for the use of the Internet should look like.

The framework of Net Neutrality was first laid by TRAI previous year in response to the public comment on the principles of Net Neutrality.

Some applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will however be kept out of the bracket of net neutrality framework. And in an ironic twist, big brother will be watching so that these companies do not mess with your and my freedom to read and view what we want to on the internet, provided its legal. Two companies, Facebook's Internet.org and Free Basics project, were offering free access to certain internet services in developing nations.

The policy NDCP 18 was approved, the thrust of which is to garner investment, ease of doing business and a forward-looking policy with focus on new technologies like 5G. "It would also not restrict adoption of reasonable traffic management practices by the service provider".

The rules grant exceptions to some services, including internet calling and online television provided by telecom companies.

India's telecom regulator TRAI has issued rules to unequivocally protect net neutrality principles while Trump appointee and FCC chair Ajit Pai is well on his way to dismantling it in the US.

MediaNama's Aroon Deep discussing the new Net Neutrality policies. This has ultimately led to a reversal of pro-Net Neutrality rules.