March 20, 2018

'Internet is an open platform': Trai upholds principle of net neutrality

29 November 2017, 12:59 | Kenneth Drake

Net neutrality principle says that access to internet or any internet-based service should be without any barrier or discrimination

Net neutrality principle says that access to internet or any internet-based service should be without any barrier or discrimination

He said that the right to access to the internet was "non-negotiable", and that no single body will have any monopoly over internet services.

In America, the main regulator, the Federal Communications Commission or FCC, says it plans to repeal landmark 2015 rules that banned Internet providers from slowing down access to or charging more for some content. "So, it is important that the platform is kept open and free and not cannibalised", Sharma said.

Following this development, DoT will have to accept these recommendations made by TRAI and make changes to the license agreements of telecom operators, to make Net Neutrality a part of the license agreement.

What happens when someone violates net neutrality norms? Networks should not prefer one kind of content over another.

TRAI said in the report, "A licensee providing Internet Access Service shall not engage in any discriminatory treatment of content, including based on the sender or receiver, the protocols being used or the user equipment". Today, it's recommended that all ISPs should adhere to the principle of non-discriminatory treatment of content. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said it was disappointed that the authority did not adopt the industry recommendation to have a wider approach to net neutrality, and that issues of OTT players were not considered.

May 2015: Release of DoT committee report on net neutrality.

However, the regulator added that "Specialised services" will be exempted from the principles of discriminatory treatment.

"We expect Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to be key beneficiaries as they already have presence in content platforms", the report said. They also bar differential speeds for various offerings by internet service providers. 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.

Talking about Internet of Things (IoT), the TRAI recommended that the IoT, as a class of services, should not be specifically excluded from the scope of the restrictions on nondiscriminatory treatment.

These licensing terms should provide explicit restrictions on any sort of discrimination in access based on the content the consumer chooses to access.

"The recommendations will also ensure a level-playing field for OTT (over-the-top) service providers to customise even new services to every individual". The principles of net neutrality states that the telecom service providers and ISPs can not speed up or slow down the internet speed as per their will or as per their marketing strategies.

"The Internet Access Service Providers may take reasonable measurement for traffic management, provided the same are proportionate, transient and transparent". It also suggested the government set up a body to monitor activities.

"Specialised services equally state that exception of specialised services should not utilised to circumvent overall implementation of net neutrality".

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