Internet services should be non-discriminatory: TRAI on Net Neutrality | Current Affairs, Current Affairs 2017

Internet services should be non-discriminatory: TRAI on Net Neutrality

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday came out with its much-awaited recommendations on Net Neutrality holding that Internet services should be non-discriminatory. It also suggested that the government set up a body to monitor violations.
“The service providers should be restricted from entering into any arrangement, agreement or contract, by whatever name called, with any person, natural or legal, that has the effect of discriminatory treatment based on content, sender or receiver, protocols or user equipment,” a release issued by the sector regulator said.
It also said the scope of the proposed principles on non-discriminatory treatment apply specifically to ‘Internet Access Services’, which are generally available to the public.
The TRAI said Internet access services should be governed by a principle that restricts any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content.
The paper said the Internet Access Service Providers may take reasonable measurements for traffic management, provided the same are proportionate, transient and transparent.
“The Telecom Service Providers (TSP) shall be required to declare their Traffic Management Practices, as and when deployed and the impact it may have had on the users. The disclosure requirements shall also include information about specialised services, direct or indirect arrangements entered by them,” the regulator recommended.
The TSPs and the over-the-top (OTT) players have locked horns over the issue of net neutrality. The regulator was debating the issue for almost two years now.
Rajan S. Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators’ Association of India, said the recommendations are in line with what the industry had suggested.
The TRAI said for monitoring and investigation of violations, a collaborative mechanism has been recommended to be established in the form of a multi-stakeholder body comprising members representing different categories of TSPs and Internet Service Providers, large and small content providers, representative from research and academia, civil society organisationsand consumer representatives.
Talking about Internet of Things (IoT), the TRAI recommended that the IoT as a class of services should not be specifically excluded from the scope of the restrictions on non-discriminatory treatment.

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