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Netizens, "internet to remain free in India"

14 July, 2018, 11:15 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Net Neutrality

Sundararajan explained that according to India's rules on net neutrality, telecom or Internet service providers should be barred from signing pacts that can lead to discriminatory treatment based on content, sender, receiver, protocols or even equipment.

Singh agrees. "Retailing connectivity in this manner is the way to go if we want to quickly expand the internet access among the people, if we want to take the internet cheaply to the poor people of the country".

Trai submitted its recommendations backing net neutrality, the principle of an open internet, to the commission in November. The draft policy focuses on provisioning of broadband for all, creating 4 million additional jobs and enhancing the contribution of the sector to 8 per cent of India's GDP from around 6 per cent in 2017.

"Any deviations and violations of the rules of net neutrality - which come into effect nearly immediately - will be met with stiff penalties", a senior telecom official Aruna Sundarajan told media. These may include autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare services or disaster management. Those types of critical services which will be subsequently notified by the DoT will be kept out in line with global practices.

DoT will form a committee to identify critical services and come up with a separate regime for such services, she said.

Only specific services are exempted from Net Neutrality rules, especially if these services are unusable, or can be replaced with Internet Access Services.

The decision was immediately welcomed by telcos.

Net neutrality has become a bigger issue across the world as social media giants and mobile and internet providers seek greater control on delivery of content and services to customers.

COAI director general Rajan Mathews said in certain cases of 5G traffic, prioritisation is needed. "...we reiterate our earlier position that a light touch regulatory approach should be adopted so that innovation is not hampered by the rules. Numerous 5G applications will have stringent data communication requirements, such as high reliability or minimal delay which require traffic management techniques", he said.

The TC has also approved avoidance of double tax on virtual network operators who provide retail services of telecom operators.

This means that free and fair Internet will survive, atleast in India. The decision that came in June in the U.S. paves the way for service providers to slow down or block particular content for users.

The National Digital Communications Policy 2018 which was approved by the Telecom Commission (TC) aims to get investments of more than $100 billion into India by 2022.

The draft of the policy, brought out in May, proposed to address the problems of the sector and enhance ease of doing business by reviewing licence fees, spectrum usage charges and universal service obligation fund levy - all of which add to the cost of telecom services.



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