Internet firms laud TRAI's recommendations on net neutrality; telecom operators upset

Trai To Issue Suggestions On Net Neutrality Today

Trai To Issue Suggestions On Net Neutrality Today

"For instance, traffic management principles by themselves haven't been defined by TRAI even though general principles for it have been indicated", he said, hoping that DoT takes urgent action on the recommendations.

The US plan did not deter Trai chairman R.S. Sharma from spelling out recommendations backing a free internet.

"Specialised service i.e services other than Internet Access Services which are optimised for specific content, protocols or user equipment, and where the optimisation is necessary in order to meet specific quality of service requirements, shall be exempted from the principles of discriminatory treatment", said the regulator. Existing rules in the United States bar internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to content or charging consumers more for a certain type of content.

The regulator also suggested changing licence terms of players to explicitly restrict any form of discrimination in internet access based on content.

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The ruling, however, doesn't come without exemptions.

Telecom regulator Trai on Tuesday issueed recommendations on Net neutrality, saying that service providers should not enter into pacts which discriminate on content.

Trai's recommendation comes days after United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) led by Ajit Pai suggested plans to scrap landmark 2015 rules meant to ensure a free and open internet.

Here's a video deconstructing just why net neutrality is a bad thing. Ahead of a December vote within the FCC on repealing the guidelines, Pai has been hammering on about light-touch regulation that will spur investment in internet infrastructure and encourage healthy competition - without actually ever addressing consumers' concerns about content being censored or throttled by ISPs. "The TRAI position on differential pricing had a sunset clause of 2 years which is fast coming to an end", said the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

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In its response, Nasscom said: "As India undergoes data revolution, the regulator's recommendations are in line with our view for unrestrained access to all lawful content and services but subject to national security and privacy". WhatsApp and Skype are examples of OTT services. TRAI previously prevented Facebook from pushing Free Basics, a zero-rated service that granted access to select sites and services on its platform for free, while operating as a gatekeeper that could decide which sites would be allowed in.

He said that the right to access to the internet was "non-negotiable", and that no single body will have any monopoly over internet services. For the telcos, it's a wholly different game. That they should be able to manage this traffic.

"We expect Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to be key beneficiaries as they already have presence in content platforms", the report said. The recent recommendations from TRAI will definitely contribute towards formalising a much-needed official policy on the issue of net neutrality.

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