After the Telecom Commission, the highest decision-making body in the department of telecommunications (DoT), has accepted the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai)’s November 2017 net neutrality recommendations. The telecom regulator will now start consultation on a framework for traffic management practices as well as the structure of a multi-stakeholder body outlined in the net neutrality principles, according to a senior Trai official.
It is being speculated that Trai is likely to bring out a discussion paper to tackle both the issues in about a month’s time. Trai intends to follow the consultative process before finalising its views on the issue.
As reported earlier, net neutrality principles prohibit service providers from discriminating against Internet content and services by blocking, throttling, or according to preferential higher speeds.
This means that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and service providers can’t indulge in practices such as throttling web traffic or providing fast lanes for specific content.
The Telecom Commission has now approached Trai requesting it “to recommend necessary traffic management practices for consideration of the DoT.”
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Further, the DoT has also asked Trai to “recommend the composition, functions, role and responsibilities of the multi-stakeholder body” that will assist the department in monitoring and enforcement of net neutrality rules.
The official further said that Trai would recommend the framework for implementation of Internet traffic management practices in compliance with net neutrality rules.
For the multi-stakeholder body, it might also focus on examining special applications and exceptions with regard to the net neutrality rules; Trai will offer its suggestions to the DoT.
In its recommendations on net neutrality issued in November 2017, Trai had proposed that in addition to direct monitoring and enforcement actions, there should be a “collaborative mechanism to deepen the knowledge of various stakeholders on issues relating to traffic management, implementation of exceptions, implementation of transparency measures, and other relevant aspects.”
“The body would be tasked with the responsibility of developing technical standards and enforcement of the principles on non-discriminatory treatment,” Trai had said in its recommendations.
Recently, the DoT also amended licence rules by incorporating clauses related to the principle. It also said that necessary traffic management practices would be formulated by the DoT, on the basis of recommendations by Trai.
The department had then said that the monitoring and enforcement functions of traffic management would rest with it and that the proposed multi-stakeholder body would play an advisory role in this regard.
[The development was reported by Livemint.]