Telecom Commission Accepts Trai Recommendations On Net Neutrality

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.
The secretary also said that the new open Internet rules will keep the Internet of Things (IoT) under its ambit. Services such as autonomous vehicles, healthcare requiring remote diagnostics, and certain categories of financial services will be prioritised over, say, social media or WhatsApp chats, because, in such communication, not even a millisecond can be lost.
The Department of Telecommunications will also amend telecom and ISP (Internet service provider) licences immediately to ensure that they’re subject to the principles of an open web.
Even though the rules don’t need Cabinet approval, they have to be notified before enforcement. At the same time, international treaties and court orders will be exempted from the rules.
The new open Internet rules will also contain provisions for levying of penalties for violation of licence norms. The new rules have stringent monetary penalties for breaching net neutrality norms, starting at INR 50,000 per violation per day and capped at INR 50 lakh depending on the gravity of the violation.
A multi-stakeholder not-for-profit body will be formed to monitor and enforce the rules. The monitoring and enforcement body will have telcos, ISPs, IoT platform providers, civil society, consumer, and government representatives as its members. Trai will issue detailed guidelines on this, Sundararajan said.
Telcos Not Happy But Activists Cheer
The new rules end the four-year debate between mobile operators and content providers and app makers.
Previously, telcos had said there was no need for any stringent regulation as they didn’t discriminate in any case. However, app makers wanted explicit rules barring any discrimination.
Sundararajan explained that according to India’s rules on net neutrality, telecom or Internet service providers should be barred from signing pacts that can lead to discriminatory treatment based on content, sender, receiver, protocols or even equipment.
“The DoT is not accepting any walled gardens,” Sundararajan said.
But telecom companies believe that the rules could hamper innovation. They also opposed the proposal to include the IoT, which is expected to be a big revenue generator under 5G, under the regulation.
At the same time, the Telecom Commission has also cleared the new telecom policy — the National Digital Communications Policy 2018 — which aims to create jobs and draw investments of more than $100 billion to India by 2022. The new policy will be presented to the cabinet for approval in two weeks.
An official who was part of the meeting said that the Commission has also approved instalation of around 12.5 lakh WiFi hotspot in all gram panchayats with a viability gap funding of around INR 6,000 Cr by December 2018.
At present, the US’s open internet rules have expired, legally arming ISPs there with sweeping powers to slow down, block, or even offer paid prioritisation to some websites. With India taking up the cause seriously, it looks like free and open Internet is here to stay.

Trending News

BigBasket eyes 40% revenue from private labels next fiscal

Flipkart appoints Smriti Singh as chief human resources officer

CitiusTech eyes $500M revenue in five years

China's feels pressure as sales of big ticket items slow down

E-pharmacies divided over their legal status

CapitalG’s India head Kaushik Anand quits, will join A91 Partners

Infosys completes JV formation with Temasek

With Walmart in driver's seat, Flipkart set to speed up hiring

Mumbai: Now, Uber fare to factor in fuel rate fluctuation

Amazon, Flipkart under ED probe for alleged violation of FDI norms

Paytm sets up wholesale entity for ecomm business like rivals

Uber posts $1Bn loss in quarter as growth in bookings slows

Infosys to open Texas hub, hire 500 Americans by 2020

Swiggy's $300M secondary share sale to be the fastest liquidity event for growth-stage investors

Over half of billion-dollar startups in US are founded by immigrants

Apple to tighten e-commerce play in India post Amazon deal

Amazon Wholesale's FY18 revenue up 73% due to B2B focus

Twitter cuts suspect users from follower counts again

Payments majors Visa, Mastercard and American Express may be taxed on India income

IRCTC wakes up after 2 years to fix its security bug

Alibaba's on-demand online services unit raises $4Bn, now valued at $30Bn: Sources

Twitter is looking to take the conversation to Bharat next

Bharat going digital for payments

Reserve Bank of India plans payments watchdog

Apple not in settlement talks 'at any level' with Qualcomm: Report

Payment cos witness growing adoption of digital gold during festival season

Meesho raises $50M from DST, Shunwei, RPS Ventures

BMTC will soon allow commuters to buy tickets using digital wallets

Flipkart, Amazon India register significant user base growth during the festive month

Rural e-commerce market a $10b-$12b opportunity in the next four years

Amazon goes shopping for Future Retail, to buy 9.5% stake

Walmart’s veggie-tracking technology: Use Blockchain

India's oldest cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay shuts down

Apple's growth in India is becoming a challenge: Tim Cook

Google India tax row: $2 billion remittance in 5 years may add to tech giants load

Want WhatsApp to cooperate with law enforcement agencies: RS Prasad

Flipkart acquisition won’t hit Walmart India plans

Twitter India earnings fall 14% in 2017-18

Alibaba to help manufacturers solve future problems with technology: Jack Ma

Ola likely to hit $5.5Bn valuation with Steadview's $100M investment

Flipkart India losses widen to Rs 2,063.8 crore in FY18

Google to give away USD 25 million to fund humane AI projects

Swiggy FY18 revenues surge 232% to Rs 442 Cr, inches closer to Zomato

Paytm's losses go up 270% to Rs 3,393 Cr driven by e-tail business

Flipkart told to stop selling products under MarQ private label

Once considered as rivals, Ola and Uber could now be saviour of autorickshaws

HCL Tech to hire nearly 30,000 people, applies for 640 H-1B visas

Zensar Technologies Q2 profit up 49% at Rs 93 crore

Facebook beyond Facebook? Instagram, Messenger & WhatsApp step up

Paytm Mall expects fashion, grocery to drive its growth

HDFC Bank Q2 net profit climbs 21% to Rs 5,005 crore on robust core income

Zomato, Swiggy and UberEats double salaries of delivery staff in some cities

Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week

“Over $3 Bn Was Invested Across 372 Deals With 54 Mergers & Acquisitions”

E-commerce players brace for big battle over online pharma

Walmart signs 5 year Cloud tech partnership with Microsoft

Flipkart adds recharge, travel tabs

Unhappy with WhatsApp reply, Indian govt may send second notice

Cars24 closes $50M funding to fuel its expansion plans

Agritech startups Sabziwala and LivLush merge their business under new entity Kamatan

Avail Finance lands $17.2M from Matrix Partners & Ola, Freecharge and Flipkart founders

RBI suggests tax sops, self-regulation to build fintech space

Swiggy hires new CEO for its Access Service, gets new CFO

Logistics company Delhivery registers 44% increase in FY17 revenues

WeWork to acquire one of the oldest social networks, Meetup

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103 billion offer

EasyRewardz gets $2 million Series-A funding

'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower

Lending platform Lenden Club gets Rs 3.5cr in Equity Investment

On festive sales, Flipkart says 65% clients from Tier-II cities