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  India   All India  29 Nov 2017  Net must be open, free, says Trai chief

Net must be open, free, says Trai chief

THE ASIAN AGE. | PAWAN BALI
Published : Nov 29, 2017, 3:14 am IST
Updated : Nov 29, 2017, 3:14 am IST

These rules are to be applicable to "internet access services", which are generally available to the public, said Trai.

(Photo: Pixabay/Representational)
 (Photo: Pixabay/Representational)

New Delhi: The telecom regulator Trai on Tuesday backed Net neutrality in the country by recommending that telecom operators or Internet service providers cannot  provide preferential treatment in terms of either increasing or slowing down Internet speed while giving access to any website or its application.

This means a consumer will get same internet speed irrespective of which website or service he or she is browsing.

 

"The 'discriminatory treatment' in the context of treatment of content would include any form of discrimination, restriction or interference in the treatment of content, including practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speed or treatment to any content," said Trai. It said that service providers should be restricted from entering into any agreement ora contract that leads to discriminatory treatment.

The recommendations come in backdrop of fear that big companies with deep pockets can give money to internet service providers so that consumer get fast or free access to their websites or services and thereby killing the start-up ecosystem in the country.

 

In 2016, Trai had by prohibited discriminatory tariffs for data.

Like Amazon or Google and even India's own Flipkart have started small from rented rooms or garage underlining the importance of maintaining level playing field between big firms and start-ups.

"No one owns Internet... So, it should be open and accessible to everyone," said Trai chairman R.S. Sharma.

He said that Internet is an important platform for the country, especially in the context of innovation, startups, online transactions, various government applications, and the Digital India programme.

"So, it is important that the platform is kept open and free and not cannibalised," Mr Sharma said. Trai chief observed that networks should be neutral to the content being accessed.

 

"Networks should not prefer one content over other... should not block or offer fast lane (to certain content)," he added.

Trai in its recommendations said that licensing terms should be amplified to provide explicit restrictions on any sort of discrimination in internet access based on the content being accessed, the protocols being used or the user equipment being deployed.

These rules are to be applicable to "internet access services", which are generally available to the public, said Trai.

However, Trai has allowed certain exemptions including specialised services and the time-critical Internet of Things services (like autonomous cars).

 

These specialised services — the likes of telesurgery will be identified by the telecom department, which will also take a final call on Trai's overall recommendations on net neutrality.

Tags: r s sharma, net neutrality, telecom regulatory association of india