Industry reaction on TRAI’s Net Neutrality recommendation

NASSCOM has welcomed TRAI’s commitment to the preserve the democracy of the internet and user rights to the freedom of speech and expression.

Net neutrality is core to the future of the India’s digital economy. The recommendations are completely consistent with the basic construct of NASSCOM recommendations calling for unrestrained and unimpeded access to all lawful content and services subject to national regulations related to security and privacy, and preventing service providers leveraging their exclusive control over access infrastructure to speed up, slow down or selectively enable or prevent access to certain content.

In the joint submission made by NASSCOM-DSCI, we had averred that the concept of net neutrality does not prevent consistent and reasonable traffic management practices with appropriate provisions to deal with situations like unforeseeable transitory congestion, specific security threats or prioritization for stipulated emergency services as required in the larger public interest. The TRAI recommendations have accepted all these observations.

We welcome the multi-stakeholder approach involving content providers, service providers, access providers, research and academia to collaboratively monitor violations and make recommendations to the authority on regulations and standards. This will facilitate fair, alert and effective implementation.

Harsh Walia, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co said, “In line with its previous stand, TRAI has upheld the idea of a free and open internet. It has suggested amendments to the existing telecom license agreements which will make the regime for non-discriminatory treatment of content robust. TRAI has recommended same provisions for all licensees permitted to provide internet access services i.e. UASL, CMTS, UL, ISP and VNO so that there is uniformity in its implementation and no loop holes are left. It has also recommended certain exceptions to the applicability of non-discriminatory principles if they fall within the meaning of specialized services.”

TRAI has taken care to recognize and acknowledge that telecom service providers need to carry reasonable traffic management practices for delivering IP traffic on best efforts and has therefore not framed regulations to specify reasonable traffic management as yet added Walia.

Surprisingly, all IoT services are not excluded from the principle of non-discrimination, but only those that will fall within the ambit of specialised services to the satisfaction of DoT said Walia.

While this provides a considerable relief to providers of CDN services, it puts TSPs in a precarious position, if this recommendation is accepted by DoT commented Walia.


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