The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is mulling putting in place guidelines which may allow subscribers to do financial transactions and access other important services faster than the rest of their mobile phones. The development comes as TRAI finalises its recommendations on the hotly debated issue of net neutrality.
As per an ET report, a senior official at TRAI stated that the telecom regulator was zeroing in on the broad contours of net neutrality but at the same time considering the possibility of introducing some form of network management, or traffic management practices (TMPs), which telecom companies can adapt to prioritise critical services, such as banking or financial transactions and social welfare services.
TRAI hopes to finalise its recommendations by mid-December.
TRAI And The Whole Net Neutrality Debate
Backers of net neutrality have demanded for not having any traffic management practices, except in cases of emergencies, such as natural disasters. However, telecom companies want to be able to manage some traffic on their networks to avoid network congestion without throttling services which compete with their own, thus assuaging the main fear of net neutrality proponents. In addition, telcos also assure that they will disclose any instances of network management to relevant authorities or the public, as required.
The regulator is likely to make its recommendations to the telecom department by December 15, which will form a vital component of the government’s policy around net neutrality. The policy aims to clearly lay down a definition of net neutrality, a principle that guarantees consumers equal and non-discriminatory access to all Internet services without any discrimination on the basis of tariffs or speed.
It was in February 2016, that TRAI had finally given its verdict on Facebook’s Free Basics platform, which had stoked the net neutrality debate in India and had issued the ‘Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016’ which said that no company can charge subscribers with discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.