The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 4 January 2017 released a consultation paper on Net Neutrality to seek comments from the public.
The purpose of the consultation process is to proceed towards final views on policy and regulatory interventions on the issue of Net Neutrality (NN).
The TRAI identified 14 issues for consultation and framed them in the form of questions. Some of the important issues are –
• What could be the principles for ensuring non-discriminatory access to content on the internet in the Indian context?
• How should “Internet traffic” and providers of “Internet services” be understood in the NN context?
• What would be the most effective legal or policy instrument for implementing a NN framework in India?
• What could be the challenges in monitoring violations of any NN framework?
• Can we consider adopting a collaborative mechanism, with representation from Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), content providers, consumer groups and other stakeholders, for managing the operational aspects of any NN framework?
• What mechanisms could be deployed so that the NN policy or regulatory framework may be updated on account of evolution of technology and use cases?
• The quality of internet experienced by a user may also be impacted by factors such as the type of device, browser, and operating system being used. How should these aspects be considered in the NN context?
What is Net Neutrality?
• The concept of Net Neutrality refers to the equal treatment of all data over the Internet by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
• The term was coined by Tim Wu in 2003 as an extension of the longstanding concept of a common carrier.
• As per the principle, the Governments and ISPs should treat every bit transmitted over the Internet equally, without any option for priority delivery or differential charges on the basis of user (Business or Domestic), content (voice or video or data), platform, application, type of attached equipment or mode of communication.
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