Trai's Net Neutrality recommendations: Key highlights

Terry Joseph
November 30, 2017

'The core principles of net neutrality, non-discriminatory treatment of all content, treating internet as an open platform, we've upheld them, ' said Trai chairman RS Sharma.

While free web access is a good thing - especially in developing economies - it can't come with damning restrictions like the ones Facebook has in mind if the goal is to get everyone on an open and equal internet.

The move came after an extended campaign by internet activists against Facebook's free basics platform.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) which has been debating the hot issue of net neutrality for almost two years, said in its recommendations to the telecom department to amend license terms to prevent any kind of discrimination on internet services based on content, apps or any other service or data that travels on the internet.

India's Net Neutrality advocates have lauded the regulators' recommendations. The paper sought views on ways to ensure non-discriminatory access to content on the internet and was followed up by an open house discussion in August involving activists and policy experts. CDNs are a layer in Internet networks (outside public Internet), used by content generators to store their data at suitable geographical locations. For example, any operator with own content platform, which is working only on its own network, will be able to charge differential pricing.

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Further, Trai wants telecom operators to declare their traffic management practices as and when deployed and the impact it may have had on the users.

The regulator's much-awaited recommendations, issued on Tuesday, clearly state that blocking, degrading or granting preferential speed to one content over another (higher speeds to one kind of content against another) will be treated as discriminatory.

"The service providers should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content, ender or receiver, protocols or user equipment", TRAI made it clear to service providers in the recommendations.

However, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews said the suggestion to form a committee to review and decide on network management violations is "unnecessarily bureaucratic", and not in keeping with "light touch regulation or the ease of doing business".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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