Telecom panel backs internet neutrality

Also clears new telecom policy to cater to change.

New Delhi: The Telecom Commission on Wednesday approved net neutrality rules which bar service providers from discriminating against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling or granting them higher speed access.

Some mission critical applications or services like remote surgery and autonomous cars will however be kept out of the purview of net neutrality framework.

“The Telecom Commission (TC) today approved net neutrality as recommended by Trai expect some critical services will be kept out of its purview,” telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters here. The recommendations would be put before the Union Cabinet for its approval shortly.

The Trai had recommended restrictions on service providers from entering into agreements which lead to discriminatory treatment of content on the Internet.

Net neutrality is considered to be a prerequisite in fostering startups and prevents established companies from monopolising the internet through their financial muscle.

It disallows telecom firms from offering better speeds to any particular companies with any regard to the type, origin or destination of the content. It also prevents telecom companies from slowing down or blocking any website or app.

If any telecom firm violates the net neutrality guidelines, Telecom Commission said it would be a violation of licence conditions.

The TC recommendations are culmination of a debate over net neutrality that started in India two years back in response to Facebook offering free Internet for a pre-selected service websites in tie-up with telecom companies.

Facebook’s move had resulted in a backlash by most of the technology experts and enterpreneurs as they feared that it would be take them out of business.

Telecom industry body COAI, however, reacted cautiously to the development. While reiterating its support for non-discriminatory use of the Internet, COAI called for a light touch regulatory approach to ensure that “innovation is not hampered by the net neutrality rules”.

“Many of the 5G applications will have stringent data communication requirements, such as high reliability or minimal delay which require traffic management techniques. We have urged the government to review industry practices with respect to traffic prioritisation to foster 5G-enabled applications and eco-system in India,” said Mr Rajan S Mathews, director-general, COAI.

Now that the Commission has approved the recommendations, he said that COAI hopes that the Cabinet will consider the concerns raised by the industry so that the Net Neutrality rules benefit the consumers, incentivise innovation and adoption of new technologies, and enable the seamless spread of state of the art networks and service.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
Next Story