Internet must be open: TRAI backs net neutrality

Net_Neutrality

The country has been tussling with the issue of regulating internet service providers' ability to throttle traffic and create fast lanes for specific sources of content; TRAI has previously sought comments from the public on how to shape its rules.

In February 2016, the Trai had ruled in favour of net neutrality by barring internet service providers from offering discriminatory tariffs for data.

The regulator has however exempted content delivery networks within a telco's own network from any restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment.

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These recommendations make Net Neutrality - the principle that says that all bits on the internet should be treated equally - rules in India far more ironclad than in the United States, where the FCC moved last week to repeal rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing websites, or charging a premium for "fast lanes" for things like high-quality streaming.

In India, the whole debate over net neutrality erupted in 2015 when Trai came out with a consultation paper on the regulatory framework for over-the-top services.

TRAI's recommendation clearly backs the idea of treating the internet as an essential resource that should be provided to all without any discrimination.

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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.

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

"Networks should not prefer one content over other.should not block or offer fast lane (to certain content)", he said. "Nobody owns the internet". With TRAI playing its part, it's up to the ministry of communications and information technology to now incorporate the recommendations in legislation. "The implementation of these regulations by the government of India would include formally issuing new executive orders to amend the telecom license conditions of service providers who have been licensed to operate in India by the government".

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Now, the Department of Telecom has to take a call on whether to accept or reject the recommendations.

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