India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has approved the Net Neutrality rules proposed last year by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Association of India). These new rules will enable open and free internet in the country.
All the licensed telecom service providers (TSPs) offering internet services in India will have to follow the core principles of net neutrality. Abiding by the net neutrality policies, the internet service providers (ISPs) will not be able to block, degrade, slow down, or grant distinct speeds or treatment to any content.
What this means for internet users in India is that telcos and ISPs will treat all the users, content, sites, platforms, and applications equally. The service providers cannot engage in any form of discrimination or interference while treating online content.
According to TRAI, “These principles try to encapsulate the idea that the providers of Internet access should seek to ensure equal or non-discriminatory treatment to all categories of content, application and services on the Internet, subject of course to the flexibility to carry out reasonable traffic management, which is necessary for the delivery of an acceptable level of quality of services.”
In 2015, DoT had established a committee to provide recommendations on net neutrality in India. The efforts were in progress for a couple of years, and TRAI submitted the recommendations in November last year.
On Wednesday, Telecom Commission (TC), the highest decision-making body of DoT, approved those recommendations.
“The TC today approved Net neutrality as recommended by TRAI,” Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said after a meeting.
She also told reporters that some critical services like IoT, remote surgery, and autonomous cars will be kept outside the purview of net neutrality.
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“The overarching goal for us has been that internet must remain an open platform, unhindered by any entity, so that users and customers have a choice to access content of their liking. Nobody owns the internet and thus it should be available to everyone. We seek openness and integrity on the internet,” said R S Sharma, Chairman of TRAI.