Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Tech | By

Telecom commission approves net neutrality, clears new telecom policy

Telecom commission approves net neutrality, clears new telecom policy

Experts say the decision, intending to ensure open and free internet in India, could be the strongest in the world. This means that telecom operators in India can not give preferential treatment to any user, content, site, platform, or application.

Under this service providers will be prohibited from discriminating against Internet services and content by throttling, blocking or granting them higher speed access.

"The Telecom Commission (TC) today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI expect some critical services will be kept out of its purview", Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan was quoted by PTI as saying. It had then suggested that Internet of Things (IoT), as a class of services, should not be excluded from the scope of restriction on non-discriminatory treatment but certain critical services should be exempt from these rules. The government will appoint a committee to examine possible exceptions for "critical services" which will be defined keeping in mind the basic tenets of net neutrality.

Almost eight months after the Telecom Regulatory Authority expressed its explicit support for the policy of net neutrality, the Centre's department of telecommunication (DoT) approved the rules governing the same.

By reinstating net neutrality rules in the country, the government is taking the control in its own hands. The concept of network neutrality comes from the idea that the users mobile, cable, or phone internet connection should provide access to all websites and online traffic in "neutral" and "equal" manner, without giving priority to any other website.

The telecom department plans to launch 10,000 such WiFi hotspots across the country in a month, it was reported last month, after the success of its pilot project floated in October a year ago that saw 603 WiFi hotspots in different parts of the country.

Even Facebook's plan of providing free services was banned in 2016 since it was indirectly promoting zero rating which could have acted as an advantage over local companies. The policy, which will be the roadmap for the other government decisions in the digital sector once it gets the Cabinet nod, also proposes reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges, and the universal service obligation fund levy, which add to the cost of telecom services, with an aim to enhance ease of doing business. Telecom companies in several countries could lobby regulators to put an end to net neutrality. At least 29 states introduced more than 65 bills aimed at protecting net neutrality and seven states enacted executive orders that made it illegal for state agencies to enter contracts with ISPs that don't uphold net neutrality.

ISP's without net neutrality, blocked websites, slow internet speeds, extra service charge?

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