Net neutrality: 5 major takeaways from TRAI ruling

Trai upholds net neutrality includes IoT under non-discriminatory treatment

Net neutrality directions to benefit RJio, Bharti

These recommendations make Net Neutrality - the principle that says that all bits on the internet should be treated equally - rules in India far more ironclad than in the U.S., where the FCC moved last week to repeal rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing websites, or charging a premium for "fast lanes" for things like high-quality streaming.

In February 2016, the Trai had ruled in favour of net neutrality by barring internet service providers from offering discriminatory tariffs for data. "No one owns Internet, so, it should be open and accessible to everyone", Sharma said. Even as telecom regulators around the globe are pushing the world towards a non-neutral internet, TRAI has been doing its bit to keep the internet free of discriminatory practices.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Tuesday came out in strong support of net neutrality in a series of recommendations, following a long process of consultations on the issue.

India's Net Neutrality advocates have lauded the regulators' recommendations.

The recommendations also call for keeping Internet of Things (IoT) within the purview of non-discriminatory restriction, with the exception of critical services.

The regulator will come out with a consultation paper on over-the-top (OTT) players soon. CDNs are a layer in Internet networks (outside public Internet), used by content generators to store their data at suitable geographical locations.

Experts suggest that the CDN exemption could strengthen the position of integrated operators which also provide content. This means that cellular service providers who have their own content platform and are offering these services on their own network (content delivery networks) can charge differential pricing.

The regulator has recommended for DoT to set up a panel of telecom operators, ISPs, content providers, civil society organisations and consumer representatives to monitor and probe violations.

If adopted by the Modi government, Internet service providers would not be able to engage in practices such as "blocking, degrading, slowing down or granting preferential speeds or treatment to any content".

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's headquarters in New Delhi. "Hence, such a heavy-handed approach is not necessary, as is now being proposed by TRAI", Mathews said.

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