Friday, 20 July, 2018

India Adopts Net Neutrality Exactly A Month After The US Repeals It

Centre approves telecom authority’s recommendations on net neutrality Net Neutrality Gets Telecom Commission's Nod, New Telecom Policy Cleared
Sherri Watson | 14 July, 2018, 11:14

ISP's can now no longer differentiate against internet service and content by bestowing them with higher speed admission, throttling, or blocking them. 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".

"Any deviations and violations of the rules of net neutrality - which come into effect nearly immediately - will be met with stiff penalties", Aruna Sundarajan, telecom secretary, told TOI.

According to TRAI Chief, RS Sharma, there are two categories of services that will be exempted from net neutrality rules-critical IoT services and specialised services.

Whilst the USA is still fumbling after FCC head Ajit "Pumpkin" Pie deregulated the internet to please his cable pals, India has just past a whole chunk of recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Association of India (TRAI) to ensure it will never go the same way. This is about the same time our own debates on net neutrality were heating up. Internet service providers (ISP) often tend to discriminate against websites that do not invest much in them or give them good traffic. The draft policy focuses on provisioning of broadband for all, creating 4 million additional jobs and enhancing the contribution of the sector to 8 per cent of India's GDP from around 6 per cent in 2017.

Singh agrees. "Retailing connectivity in this manner is the way to go if we want to quickly expand the internet access among the people, if we want to take the internet cheaply to the poor people of the country".

Indias' Minister of the Department of Telecommunications, Shri Manoj Sinha.

Some mission-critical services like autonomous cars, content delivery network (CDN), and remote surgery are out of the framework of TRAI.

The development means that service providers can't enter into agreements such as Facebook's "Free Basics" or Airtel Zero which proposed to offer only a set of services or websites for free.

DoT will seek recommendations from TRAI on traffic management for critical services.

To ensure that this investment comes into the telecom sector, the government will bring down regulatory compliances for ease of doing business, Sundararajan said, adding that they will make the market fundamentally attractive to investors.

As per the recent conversation, under net neutrality, online access is unrestricted and non-discriminatory.

In June 2018, the FCC's decision to overturn net neutrality protections went into effect, giving ISPs in the U.S. leeway to block, throttle and prioritise websites and content. This "multi-provider, inter-operable, collaborative model increases the overall innovation in the system, dismantles monopolies and encourages passing of benefits to end user", the telecom regulator has said.