- Telecom Commission accepted Net Neutrality
- Telecom Commission has accepted the Net Neutrality recommendations made by regulatory body TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Association of India).
- It means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access.
- No platform will be allowed to block, decline speed or grant preferential speed to any particular content in the digital universe while allowing fast lanes only for ‘critical’ services and keeping ‘content delivery networks’ out of their ambit.
- DoT will amend telecom and ISP licences immediately to say that they will be subject to the principles of an open web.
What is net neutrality?
- Net neutrality is a concept that says that internet service providers (ISPs) will treat all data fairly and equally.
- The principle of net neutrality governs that ISPs should not be allowed to slow down data transfer from or to specific websites or services, in order to favour another.
- For Example :- In the absence of net neutrality, a top e-commerce retailer could theoretically pay the leading ISPs to load its website faster than a smaller rival.
What else do backers of net neutrality say?
- Advocates say absence of net neutrality will make it harder for startups and younger companies to compete with existing corporations that can afford to cover the costs for preferential treatment from ISPs.
- ISPs will effectively become the gatekeepers of content, determining what users should consume, rather than leaving the option with consumers.
- Since large Internet companies may end up paying more to ISPs, they will simply decide to pass on the costs to users, making content even more expensive.
So what does the Telecom Commission’s acceptance of Net Neutrality rules for India mean?
According to TRAI’s Net Neutrality rules, discriminatory treatment of content is prohibited. What this means is that your ISP or internet provider cannot charge you extra for say watching videos on Netflix at a high-speed.
- The rules bar ISPs from creating high-speed data lanes, or charging extra for viewing certain kind of content on the web.
- It also means that zero-rating packages like says a Facebook Free Basics, where certain content is provided for free like access to Facebook, also remain illegal in India.
What comes under the approved Net Neutrality Rules ?
- The rules will also contain provisions to levy penalties for violating licence norms.
- A multi-stakeholder not-for-profit body will be formed to monitor and enforce the rules.
- International treaties and court orders will be exempted from the rules.
- Internet service providers (ISPs) should be barred from signing pacts that can lead to discriminatory treatment based on content, sender, receiver, protocols or even equipment.
- While the Internet of Things (IoT) will also fall under the ambit of the open internet rules, services such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare requiring remote diagnostic surgeries and certain categories of financial services, will be prioritised.
- The panel will also frame traffic management practices (TMPs) for telcos to adopt for ensuring quality of services, security of networks, emergency services and implementing court orders and government directions as long as they are transparent and the impact on users is declared.