DoT Should Accept TRAI's Net Neutrality Recommendations

TRAI suggestions on Net Neutrality draw mixed reaction from industry

Sector analysts, however, said the Trai's suggestion to exempt content delivery networks (CDNs) within a telco's own network from any restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment would benefit large integrated telcos such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm who have a presence in content platforms.

They said TRAI did not address the issues related to connecting the unconnected in India and licensing of apps or websites providing calls and messaging services such as Whatsapp, Skype, Viber and Google Duo. The "discriminatory treatment" in the context of treatment of content would include any form of discrimination such as restriction or interference of content, including practices such as blocking, degrading, slowing down or grating preferential speeds.

Telecom regulator Trai on Tuesday issueed recommendations on Net neutrality, saying that service providers should not enter into pacts which discriminate on content.

Our unified license document states very clearly that there should be unrestricted and non-discriminatory access.

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. Existing rules in the U.S. bar internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to content or charging consumers more for a certain type of content. In the first week of September, it was reported that TRAI's recommendations on net neutrality would be out in two months. That said, the internet should be non-discriminatory.

Noting that the reforms would prevent telecom firms from discriminating content, Institute of Finance and International Management's Assistant Professor Pritam Kumar said access to all services would enable better internet services and more freedom to netizens.

May 30, 2016: TRAI's pre-consultation on net neutrality. "However, critical IoT services, which may be identified by DoT, and which specify the definition of specialised services, would be automatically excluded".

The regulator will come up with recommendations which will be abiding to all mobile internet service providers. They said that these be amended in order to incorporate the principles of non-discriminatory treatment of content by Internet Access Services along with the appropriate exclusions and exceptions. He should have the freedom to exercise traffic management practices.

"The recommendations will also ensure a level-playing field for OTT (over-the-top) service providers to customise even new services to every individual".

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