India Has Agreed To Net Neutrality: A Big Win For Internet Users

Doris Richards
July 13, 2018

In India, the debate started in 2015 when companies like Airtel, Facebook, Reliance and Flipkart launched plans effectively removing neutrality. That includes "practices like blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content".

Zero-rated platforms have also been blocked in India.

"The Telecom Commission today approved net neutrality as recommended by TRAI, except some critical services which will be kept out of its purview", Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters in New Delhi, according to PTI.

In November previous year, the telecom and media sector watchdog had proposed restrictions on service providers from entering into pacts which lead to discriminatory treatment of content, while also suggesting a multi-stakeholder body comprising telecom and internet service providers, content providers, civil society organisation and consumer representatives for monitoring violations.

The new regulations affirm the Indian government's commitment to a free and fair internet, Pahwa added.

In November'17, it issued its recommendations, backing neutrality.

Indians have been long arguing for fair services of the Internet.

"The internet today is a great platform for innovation, startups, banking, government applications such as health, telemedicine, education and agriculture", TRAI's chairman, RS Sharma, said at the time. "Unlike the United States, where the FCC has gone back and is essentially opposing net neutrality, India has now the strongest net neutrality regulations in the world", he added.

To implement Net neutrality, the regulator had recommended that the terms of licence agreements that govern the provision of Internet services in India be amended "to incorporate the principles of non-discriminatory treatment of content along with the appropriate exclusions and exceptions".

Internet service providers who break the rules could lose their licenses to operate in India.

Pahwa was at the forefront of India's first battle to preserve net neutrality in 2015, when Facebook's plan to provide free internet to hundreds of millions of Indians came under huge public pressure.

Do internet service providers have a right to throttle certain traffic?

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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