After the social media uproar of 2014 on net neutrality and the subsequent ongoing debate, India is ready to make net neutrality a reality with the Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) accepting the November 2017 recommendations of the Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) emphasising an open Internet.
Aruna Sundararajan, telecom secretary, said, “All recommendations of the Trai on net neutrality have been accepted. Its core principles will be followed except in the case of critical services where you need to prioritise certain kinds of traffic.”
What’s The Plan For Net Neutrality?
Based on the Trai recommendations, the government will soon amend telecom licences to incorporate rules on net neutrality, including a bar on blocking or slowing down of content, while allowing fast lanes for only ‘critical’ services and keeping ‘content delivery networks’ out of their ambit.
At the same time, Sundarajan informed that categories of critical services that will be notified subsequently by the DoT will be kept out, in line with the international practice. A separate regime for critical services will be issued.
A committee, in consultation with Trai, will earmark critical services in a few months, but the government can’t take a rigid position on this as it’s a “very evolving framework”.
Going forward, the panel will also frame traffic management practices (TMPs) for telcos to ensure service quality, security of networks, emergency services, and implementation of court orders and government directions as long as they are transparent and the impact on users is declared.